Maputo — Chimoio (Mozambique), 24 Apr (AIM) - The Mozambican police on Saturday arrested 26 Ethiopians who had entered the country illegally and were trying to make their way to South Africa.
The police picked them up at Nhamatema, in Barue district, in the central province of Manica. They were waiting in Nhamatema for a vehicle that would take them to South Africa.
According to the spokesperson for the Manica Provincial Police Command, Elsidia Filipe, the Ethiopians were all men, aged between 19 and 40. It is believed that they had entered the country from Malawi, and had crossed Tete province before reaching Barue.
The vehicle that had carried them across Tete left them at Nhamatema in the middle of the night. They waited in the bush for 24 hours, but were spotted.
They arrived last Friday night, said Filipe. They were unloaded and abandoned, and thought they should hide in the bush. On Saturday local people saw them in the bush and informed the police.
The police picked the group up and are now trying to identify the vehicle they used. Filipe said they will be handed over to the immigration authorities for deportation.
We don't know whether they entered Malawi legally, she said. We shall contact the immigration services. They will return to Malawi, and from there they will perhaps be sent back to their country of origin.
We shall remain attentive to prevent our province from being used as a corridor for illegal migrants, Filipe added.
This is the fourth group of illegal migrants intercepted in Manica so far this year. It is believed that all were attempting to reach South Africa.