3 February 2013

Nigeria: Fear As Kaduna Community Mistakes Nigerien Illegal Immigrants for Malian Refugees

Kaduna — The arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants at a checkpoint manned by soldiers at the outskirts of Kaduna metropolis created tension in the area as residents mistook the aliens for refugees from the troubled Mali.

Sunday Trust gathered that the soldiers manning a checkpoint on Thursday around 11:00pm intercepted three trucks filled with illegal immigrants numbering over 100.

It was gathered that the illegal immigrants who had beaten the checkpoint of the immigration service at the toll gate were intercepted at the checkpoint in Anguwar Kaji, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State.

Residents said, on Friday the soldiers of the one division of the Nigerian Army subjected the illegal immigrants to thorough search and interrogation that lasted the whole day.

"On Thursday night from afar, I sighted them but I was not worried because it was their routine duty to stop and search any suspicious persons passing through the road.

"We became worried when the soldiers held the travellers for many days.

"We were told that they were from Mali," a date-fruits seller close to the checkpoint said.

A trader said the way and manner the soldiers were treating the illegal immigrants made them believe they were from Mali.

"When one of the immigrants called me to buy something while I was going close to them, the soldiers threatened to shoot me.

"The man was tall and black like a Malian," he said. When our correspondent went there yesterday, he saw many trucks near the checkpoints, Women and children were seen under the vehicles.

Contacted on phone, the spokesperson of the one division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Colonel Sani Kukasheka said he was not aware of the arrest.

However, when our correspondent contacted the Comptroller of Immigrations Service in Kaduna, Mr Hamman Yerima said soldiers handed over some illegal immigrants to the service.

Copyright © 2013 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.