Dodoma. The police here have detained 82 people believed to be Ethiopian nationals over illegal entry into the country. Regional Police Commander (RPC) Mr Zelothe Stephen said the suspects were arrested on Tuesday at Chitego Village in Kongwa District.
A statement issued by the regional police boss said the suspected illegal migrants come from Kambata, Hadia and Sirite villages in Ethiopia and entered the country via Kenya.
The RPC issued the statement a day after it was established that 43 suspected illegal immigrants from Ethiopia had died due to lack of air and food in a lorry’s container. They were travelling to southern countries.
The driver, who is still at large, abandoned the lorry, the dead bodies and survivors, who were in a bad condition after establishing that some of them had died.
The lorry, the bodies and survivors were abandoned at a roadside and were found on Tuesday morning by villagers who, informed the police.
“After we were notified we sent our team to the village some 114 kilometres from Dodoma town and managed to arrest 82 people over illegal entry.
“In addition to the survivors, most of who were in a bad condition, we also found 43 bodies of people, who had apparently died due to lack of air and food,” said Mr Stephen.
He said after abandoning them, the survivors started walking from the area and were arrested near Izava Village in Chamwino District.
The RPC said in collaboration with the villagers, they managed to nab 82 people and there was no report if there were some people, who managed to escape the police net.
He said during interrogation, the suspects, who speak bad English, said they were from Ethiopia and entered the country via Kenya.
“They told us that they boarded two lorries to Arusha and continued with their journey to Dodoma and wanted to go to Malawi. They said they started their journey about five months ago,” he said in the statement.
He noted that they told the police that there was a group of people in Nairobi, Kenya, who had arranged transport for them to Malawi.
According to Mr Stephen, the suspected illegal immigrants are collected by agents and placed in special houses where they are fed. After they reach a certain number they are placed in lorries and ferried to Malawi through Tanzania.