Arusha — THE Immigration Department intends to provide all people living along border towns in the region with special travelling documents and identifications.
Arusha Regional Immigration Officer, Mr Daniel Namomba said that the decision was taken to assist in the ongoing efforts to curb illegal movement of people across the borders as well as to address criminal incidents around border areas.
"We also intend to help Tanzanians living along borders to travel with ease and guarantee them security whenever they venture into neighbouring countries," he said.
Tanzanians living at Namanga, in Longido District, are at the moment compelled to travel all the way to Arusha town, located 106 kilometres from the border town in order to secure temporary travel documents, causing them great inconvenience.
Mr Namomba, however, noted that the issue is currently being addressed following a directive from the Minister of East African Cooperation, Mr Samuel Sitta, to Tanzanian authorities to start issuing temporary passports at border points like their Kenyan counterparts.
On another note, Mr Nammomba said that the immigration department in the region is understaffed. "Manning the entire border of Arusha and Kenya is very challenging because there are only 118 immigration officers in the region and the borderline stretches for 450 kilometres," he said.
He added that they have already sent a request for 53 more officers from the headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam. The regional immigration officer observed that most of the 450 kilometres borderline is actually made up of thick forests and bushy wilderness totally cut-off from civilization thus rendering patrolling very difficult if not perilous.
Mr Namomba, however, said cases of illegal immigrants have been declining lately with only 88 aliens being arrested between January and June this year (2012). "Out of the 88 arrested illegal immigrants there were 57 Kenyans, 8 Ethiopians, 5 Ugandans, 4 Sri-Lankans, 3 Somalis, 3 Congolese and 2 Canadians," he said, adding that the rest were individuals from Italy, Pakistan, Niger, the Comoros, India and Nigeria.
In 2011, the immigration department arrested 328 aliens with Kenyans accounting for 153 of the total figure, followed by Somalis (57), 54 Ethiopians, 13 Ugandans and 9 Pakistanis.
The rest were from Sri-Lanka (7), DRC (6), Sierra-Leone (3), South-Africa (2), Eritrea (2), Jamaica (2), Sudan (2) and Rwanda (2), with one each from China, India, Canada, Italy, Burundi, the United States and Germany.