The bus, police intercepted in Lilongwe two days ago full of passengers, with some standing, on its way to South Africa, is apparently one of the human trafficking implements used by a syndicate involving some big businessmen in Malawi.
Investigations by the Lilongwe News Agency (LINA) have revealed that among the 73 passengers, there were some who had just been repatriated by government from the same country, while others were going there for the first time to look for greener pastures despite seven Malawians having been killed and scores evacuated due to xenophobic attacks.
Eye witnesses said the bus came to a garage at Biwi Triangle to service an exhaust pipe enroute to South Africa but what surprised many people around the garage was that the passengers were not coming out.
“Actually they were pulling over bus window curtains so that nobody sees them which attracted us all to be curious,” disclosed one welder at the garage.
He said when rumour went round at Biwi Triangle about this bus and its strange passengers, many people got interested and came to see what was happening. Among the people who came was Kandapako Banda who alerted the police.
“I am in-charge of an organization that helps poorest Malawians by giving them small loans for businesses, and obviously when I saw what was happening I alerted the police because it was disappointing to see Malawians going back to South Africa where many have already died,” explained Kandapako Banda.
Talking to welders who work at the garage, the reasons why these people wanted to go to South Africa were various.
“Some of them came back last week and wanted to go back to collect their belongings which were left behind. Others want to go back because they have nothing here in Malawi, they have no house, no food, no capital for business, they have nothing,” said one eye witness who didn’t want to be named.
Still there were some going there for the first time to start a new life despite whatever is happening now in South Africa.
Police Public Relations Officer for Lilongwe, Kingsley Dandaula, has confirmed that they have intercepted a Volvo bus registration number NA 4151 whose owner is not yet traced.
Dandaula says the bus is at Immigration Department for verification. He did not elaborate.
He told LINA that when they got a tip on the issue they rushed to the place but the driver and conductor of the bus bolted when they knew police were coming for them.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :