In a space of 30 days, Malawian authorities have arrested over 200 illegal immigrants deep inside the country after successfully beating the security checks raising more questions over the effectiveness of its security system.
The latest incident is the apprehension over the weekend of 81 Somali nationals in the central district of Dedza who had perfectly beaten the country’s security system before being spotted near the district headquarters.
Before this fresh arrest, among others, Malawi Police had captured 70 illegal Ethiopians and Somalis in two separate cases in Mzimba district who were hiding at a forest, 10 Bangladesh nationals (who have since been fined and deported) just after landing at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe and 33 Democrati Republic of Congo (DRC) in Neno district.
Police swoop on the 33 Congolese in various rest houses at Zalewa Trading Centre in the district after the law enforcers were tipped by the general public of the presence of the illegal persons.
The illegal immigrants revealed, according to Zalewa Police Officer in Charge Bravo Chipelesa, that they were in transit to South Africa via Mozambique.
Speaking about the 81 Somalis, Dedza Police Station Officer Kelvin Maigwa said the foreigners were apprehended while walking along the M1 Blantyre-Lilongwe road.
Maigwa said some people were suspicious with the huge group of foreigners walking together and immediately reported to police.
“These foreigners are reported to have entered the country through Mozambique but we are failing to properly communicate with them because of language barrier,” he said.
Maigwa said the illegal immigrants were walking towards Lilongwe and it remains unclear where they were heading to.
Meanwhile, Maigwa said one of the foreigners was knocked down to death by a speeding vehicle at Bembeke Trading Centre while the rest were sent to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.
Malawi Police Chief Peter MukhIto complained recently that they are failing to effectively deal with the issue because there is a well organised syndicate that is aiding foreigners to enter the country illegally.
His sentiments were echoed by the Immigration Department after one of their officers was nabbed for assisting the 10 Bangladesh nationals to enter the country without any documents.
Reports indicate Malawi is a home to close to 300 000 illegal foreigners most of whom take advantage of the country’s porous borders due to hunger for money by officials working in the borders who easily get bribed.
Last year, authorities recorded about 3000 cases of illegal entry into the country. Those who do not bribe immigration officers at the boarders resort to using unchartered routes especially in Karonga and Chitipa districts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :