Maputo — The Mozambican immigration service in the central province of Manica on Monday repatriated 14 Ethiopian citizens who had entered the country illegally.
The 14 were put on a plane to Maputo, and will then take the scheduled flight of Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa.
The spokesperson for the Manica immigration service, Jorge Machava, said the Ethiopians had entered Mozambique from Malawi and Zambia, entering Tete province through the Zobwe and Cassacatiza borders.
The fundamental goal, Machava said, is to combat illegal immigration, which "requires a lot of work from everybody, tightening inspections at the borders and other strategic places which illegal migrants use as points of access".
The police, including the traffic police, "have helped us greatly in these operations", he said. "The public also plays an important role in denouncing these illegal migrants. We are all involved in this work, and each of us knows their role in fighting against illegal immigration".
The 14 Ethiopians were among a group of 50 foreigners detained at the start of the second half of this year. The other 36 were repatriated to their countries of origin in October.
All had been detained in Barue district. Machava said the Ethiopians were held longer, waiting for the legal procedures for repatriation to be completed. "Only now did we succeed, and they were sent on their way on Monday", he added.
It is believed that Mozambique was not the intended final destination of the Ethiopians, and that they were merely using the country as a corridor in attempts to reach South Africa.