By Muhyadin Ahmed Roble
Mozambique immigration officials have arrested 44 Somali and Ethiopia migrants who were heading to South Africa.
The 23 Somalis and 21 Ethiopians were seized early this month in a local bus going to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara said on Monday that migrants were held at a police station near the northern border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Migrants entered Zimbabwe through Kariba, a town in Mashonaland West province, Zimbabwe, located close to the Kariba Dam at the northwestern end of Lake Kariba.
However, the bus driver became suspicious when the immigrants instructed him to trail behind a particular vehicle.
“The driver was a quick thinker and he instead diverted the bus and went to Nyamapanga Police Post. They (bus crew) told police they suspected something fishy was going on,” Insp Mabgweazara told state media.
It was widely believed the immigrants were to proceed to Beitbridge and then cross into South Africa.
The Migrants are currently being screened before they are sent to refugee holding centers in the country, police said.
Mozambique is increasingly becoming a transit point for illegal immigrants to gain entry into South Africa.
At least 17,000 illegal migrants from the Horn of Africa flee to South Africa annually. Most of them transit through Kenya, according to the International Organization for Migration’s report in February.
The organization said crisis and poverty were forcing Somalis and Ethiopians to carry out dangerous journeys to better places.
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