Maputo — The Mozambican police in the northern province of Nampula have arrested a 22 year old Somali citizen, named as Assane Checaly, on charges of trafficking people to South Africa.
According to the spokesperson for the Nampula Provincial Police Command, Zacarias Nacute, speaking at a Monday press conference in Nampula city, Checaly was arrested last week. When he was detained, he was in the company of other Somalis, and preparing to move them southwards.
“This individual was recruiting people from Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces and sometimes Somalis”, said Nacute. “He would then transport them to Maputo, and from there they would be moved to South Africa. We are trying to discover what activities they were to undertake in South Africa”.
Under the Mozambican penal code, Nacute added, Checaly's activities clearly fall into the definition of trafficking in human beings.
Checaly denied the accusations against him - but in his statements to reporters he admitted arranging transport for his fellow Somalis to South Africa.
He said he had helped “my Somali brothers” to enter Mozambique, and he then channeled them to South Africa “to seek better living conditions”.
He refused to give any details about the strategy he used to move people from Nampula to Maputo and on to South Africa. Checali said he never imagined that helping other Somalis find work in South Africa could be regarded as trafficking in people.
“It's not true. I don't traffic in people”, he said, “I'm a businessman and I have shops in Nampula and Cabo Delgado. The people who say I'm trafficking are my Somali brothers whom I always helped find jobs in South Africa”.