Friday, December 23, 2011

Malawi court convicts 90 Ethiopians


A court in Nkhata Bay, Malawi, has found over 90 Ethiopians guilty of illegal entry into the country four days after they hang out off shore Lake Malawi to elude police security.

The immigrants have since been fined K4,000 each or if they fail to pay the amount, go to jail for two months each.

Prison authorities in Nkhatabay have since raised fears of congestion at the district prison which has a capacity of 280 if the 94 Ethiopian illegal immigrants are eventually jailed.

Eight of the Ethiopians died of starvation on Lake Malawi where they camped for four days as they tried to elude security to illegally get ashore.

Police say the Ethiopian illegal immigrants, close to 100, were in a boat belonging to a Tanzanian national.

Nkhatabay police spokesperson Sergeant Martin Bwanali says 94 of the Ethiopians have been arrested for illegal entry into Malawi.

“They were forced to stay on the Lake for four days after being tipped by their Malawian agents that police were waiting for them on the shores,” said Sergeant Bwanali.

Sergeant Bwanali said police had prior information on the questionable visit by the aliens.

“Police officers were strategically deployed on the shores of the lake around the area to monitor what was happening,” he said. The Ethiopians were, however, tipped by their Malawian agents that police were monitoring them.

“The strangers then decided to remain on the lake for four days. In the process, eight of them died of starvation and were disposed off right in the lake,” said Sergeant Bwanali.

The tragedy, police suspect, forced the group to show up on the shore where they met local fishermen who sold them off.

The 94 Ethiopians are aged between 20 and 40.

The influx of illegal immigrants has often worried local authorities as they over-stretch government resources and causes security hazard as their backgrounds are not known.

It is generally believed that Ethiopians, Somalis and people from DRC find Malawi a soft security spot in their quest to travel to South Africa where they long to find a better life.

There is a rise in cases of illegal immigrants into Malawi.

Officials from the Immigration Department say close to 3,000 cases were recorded in 2011.

The arrests are being attributed to alertness of officials and routine security operations.

The increasing cases of illegal immigrants are blamed on porous borders Malawi has.

Ethiopians, Somalis, Burundians, Rwandese, Indians, Pakistanis and now Chinese nationals make up the majority of illegal immigrants found in Malawi.

Source: ZodiakMalawi