By CHISHALA MUSOND
THE Immigration Department in Nakonde has arrested 26 Ethiopians believed to be in transit to South Africa for alleged unlawful entry into Zambia.
This brings to 141 the number of Ethiopians intercepted by the Immigration Department in less than a fortnight for allegedly illegally entering Zambia through Nakonde border.
Immigration Department public relations officer Namati Nshinka said in a statement issued yesterday that the suspected prohibited immigrants were apprehended on Sunday around 01:00 hours about 60 kilometres away from Isoka.
The Ethiopians weretravelling in two Zambian- registered vehicles, a Toyota Noah and Nissan Elgrand, but that the drivers managed to escape.
“They were travelling in two vehicles, a Noah and an Elgrand both Zambian registered. The drivers of vehicles both escaped. One of the suspected prohibited immigrants revealed that they had paid some unnamed agent in order to be smuggled through Zambia to South Africa, their alleged final destination,” Mr Nshinka said.
He said the 26 Ethiopians are detained in Nakonde pending further investigations while the vehicles have been impounded.
Last week, the Immigration Department in Kapiri Mposhi arrested 67 Ethiopians for alleged unlawful entry into Zambia after the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) intercepted a Tanzanian containerised truck in which they were being ferried.
A week earlier, 48 other Ethiopians were arrested in Kapiri Mposhi for a similar offence after they were found in a containerised truck.
Meanwhile, Mr Nshinka said three Zambians were last week deported from South Africa for overstaying.
Two of the deportees arrived in Lusaka on Wednesday last week while the other arrived on Friday.
“The duo had been unlawfully staying in South Africa since 2010. Another Zambian was on Friday received after being removed from South Africa for a similar offence,” he said.