BLANTYRE--Police in Malawi's northern border district of Karonga have arrested 62 Ethiopians suspected of entering Malawi illegally.
"We got a tip from villagers that they spotted a truck full of people with strange faces packed in some bush," said Enock Livason, a police spokesman in the district.
Livason said police followed the tip and arrested the 62 Ethiopians. Four Malawians were also arrested, he said.
"We have charged the Ethiopians with illegal entry and their Malawian accomplices, who include the driver of the truck, with aiding and abetting crime," said Livason.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there is a chain of human traffickers lined up from the Horn of Africa - where the most of the illegal immigrants come from - through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. Most of these are economic refugees who seek greener pastures in South Africa.
The traffickers connive with police in the five countries to allow safe passage of the refugee.
President Joyce Banda of Malawi, who has made curbing the illegal immigrants her rallying call, recently "named and shamed" a police officer who was fingered by some arrested illegal immigrants as their "link man".
Most of the illegal immigrants use uncharted routes over land and on lakes. Recently 47 Ethiopians drowned on Lake Malawi when their boat capsized because of overloading. Forty-two others from Ethiopia and Somalia were also found suffocated to death in a truck in Tanzania.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction without acknowledgment prohibited.