BLANTYRE--Police in the northern border district of Karonga have intercepted and detained 47 Ethiopian illegal immigrants as they tried to enter Malawi through uncharted routes.
"We have intensified border patrols along the lakeshore and the border (with Tanzania)," said Karonga Station Officer William Kadzayekha. "We arrested these Ethiopians who entered Malawi through the Ngana area."
Kadzayekha said eight of the illegal immigrants were rushed to Karonga District Hospital because they were very sick.
This is the latest of illegal immigrants from the Horn of Africa who try to trek towards their ultimate destination, South Africa, through uncharted routes in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. On June 17, 49 bodies of Ethiopians were found floating on Lake Malawi after their overcrowded boat capsized.
A fortnight later at least 42 Ethiopians were also found dead in a truck as they tried to head into Malawi en route to South Africa. According to Tanzania's Deputy Interior Minister Pereira Silima, the group died from asphyxiation as they were locked behind the truck to avoid detection by authorities.
The truck driver abandoned the truck.
The Horn of Africa illegal immigrants, mostly fleeing economic and political hardships in Ethiopia and Somalia, pay huge sums of money to a ring of organised human traffickers plying in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. They are mostly hungry, weak and ill when they reach the next country.
Corrupt police officers in all the countries they pass through work in cahoots with the human traffickers in exchange of bribes.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.