Though human trafficking cases involving people from the horn of Africa are rife in Arusha, it is rare for local culprits who act as conduits to be arraigned in court.
Five Tanzanians have been sentenced to serve five years in prison for failure to pay the required individual fines of 5 million/- each after the court found them guilty of transporting 96 illegal Ethiopian migrants though the Namanga border in Longido District, late last month.
All five accused are residents of Kilimanjaro Region but their case was heard at the Ngorongoro District Magistrate court at the end of last week.
The accused include Mr Said Augustino Mrembe the owner of the Mitsubishi Fuso truck with plate numbers T-264 APV, which carried the Ethiopians, Mr Romuald Clemence Tarimo and Samwuel Mwashingo who served as drivers and Mr Taritoi Sarikoki Laizer, the trip supervisor and Mr Petro Gilayado Kisima the vehicle's conductor.
Immigration officers in Arusha had impounded the Fuso lorry which was alleged to be ferrying nearly 100 illegal immigrants through Longido district last December. Regional Immigration Officer, Mr Daniel Namomba, said the immigrants were all from Ethiopia with Four Tanzanians who were escorting them also falling into the trap.
The RIO explained that the Mitsubishi Fuso truck carried 96 Ethiopians and four local conduits and was stopped at the wilderness striding Ngerian and Tinga Tinga villages in Longido District, Arusha Region.
The immigrants were bundled in the rear cargo section of the light truck, while the Tanzanians who must have been behind the racket were riding in the front cabin with the driver.
Mr Namomba stated that the immigrants were being smuggled into the country from Kenya, but did not follow the official Namanga border and instead used the so-called 'Panya Routes ' that are essentially permeable passages dotting the porous 400 kilometers borderline.
Within the same month 13 other immigrants were arrested in Arusha at Matevesi village in Kisongo ward, Arusha Rural, bringing the total number of illegal aliens who were caught here last month to be 113.
Ethiopians, Somalis and people from Eritrea use Kenya and Tanzania as passage routes on their way to South Africa which happens to be their green pasture and sometimes their springboard to overseas countries.