Namibia: Angolans Sneak Into Namibia for Shopping

Travel  between Namibia and Angola remains banned, except for special cases, but a number of Angolans illegally cross into Namibia to shop in northern towns, particularly Oshikango.

Many Angolan border jumpers have been arrested and deported to Angola with warnings. Only those seeking for medical attention and schoolchildren are allowed into the country through official crossing points.

Angolans have for many years, done their shopping at northern towns near the border and return to Angola, where an economic downturn has destroyed many livelihoods. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, things have changed and they cannot cross the border as they please, for fear of spreading the virus.

As the new Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise, many of the country's borders remain closed, but Angolans sneak in to buy groceries and other goods that they smuggle back into Angola.

Ohangwena police spokesperson, Kaume Iitumba told The Namibian that the police are doing everything possible to prevent Angolans or any other foreigners coming into the country illegally, but Angolans sneak in through the porous border.

"The borders are still closed and no Angolan is allowed into the country illegally. It is a big concern that we have people sneaking in to shop and returning to Angola at a time the country is battling to contain Covid-19.

"It is very risky because we do not know if these people have Covid-19 or not. If they are infected with the deadly virus, they are a huge risk to people who will come into contact with them," he said.

Iitumba said Angolans intercepted jumping the border are always deported to Angola on warnings.

He, however, could not tell how many Angolan nationals have been intercepted.

Among those slipping into the country are informal traders who come to sell various wares.

Iitumba strongly urged the public to report anyone crossing into the country illegally.

"We have the police and immigration patrols along the border at all times. Covid-19 is real and the police are doing everything possible to minimise unnecessary movement of people across the border," he said.

"We cannot deny anyone seeking medical services in Namibia. If someone comes on medical reasons, they can enter the country and go to the nearest hospital or clinic. That is everyone's right and we cannot deny people their rights.

"There are also arrangements between the directorate of education and immigration officers concerning schoolchildren but if one does not fall into those categories, they are not allowed into the country," he said.

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