Police in the Zambezi region arrested 12 illegal immigrants during a two-day operation to identify foreign vendors operating without documents around Katima Mulilo last week.
The operation, came after local street vendors led by the Native Small Traders Association (Nasta) held a peaceful demonstration a week ago, calling for the removal of foreign vendors whom they accuse of creating unfair competition.
Zambezi regional police spokesperson inspector Kisco Sitali told The Namibian yesterday that they initially arrested 22 foreigners, among them Angolans, Zambians and Zimbabweans, but some were cleared by immigration officials as they had valid documentation.
"The operation was a great success; we also confiscated all the wares they are selling. The ones who were cleared by immigration also just had visitors' visas and not business visas as required to sell on the streets. Those we arrested are now in the custody of immigration officers, and will be deported.
"During this operation, we realised that most of the foreign vendors are working in cahoots with shop owners and locals because when we came to collect their items, the shop owners or locals claimed the items were theirs. Most of them did not have papers for the products they had, meaning these products were smuggled," he explained.
Sitali further advised foreigners to ensure that they always carry their passports everywhere they go around town, and when they import goods, they should ensure that they do it legally.