Police in in Balaka have arrested five men for allegedly trying to traffick 74 people to South Africa.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, Balaka police station deputy spokesperson Gerald Sumaili said the traffickers were intercepted at around 3am on July 12 at a roadblock that was mounted along the Liwonde-Chingeni Road.
“The group was traveling in two vehicles a FAW Van registration number MPR 866 GP and a Toyota two tone registration number KK 6417. A search conducted on the vehicles revealed that there were 74 passengers on board of which 11 were women. When asked to produce travel documents, only 20 of them produced passports,” explained Sumaili.
According to Sumaili the victims were promised jobs in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the five suspects comprising of two drivers and three facilitators namely Obra Thomas 45, Abdul Adam 40, Rafiq Amadu 35, Allan Leman 26 and Keizi Kawatira 25 respectively, will soon be taken to court to answer charges of Trafficking in Persons contrary to section 14 Under the Human Trafficking Act.
All of the suspects are from Mangochi.
This comes barely a week after immigration autholities in Zimbabwe deported 60 Malawians for failing to produce proper documents.
According to Mwanza border immigration spokesperson Pasqually Zulu, the men in their 20s were on their way to South Africa to look for jobs.
The department of Immigration has since urged Malawians planning to travel outside the country to make sure they have proper documentation and avoid using uncharted routes.