The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has deported 40 illegal foreign nationals who were nabbed in a special operation that started on May 7 this year.
Among the illegal immigrants picked by the department are five Burundians, five Nigerians, one Zimbabwean, one Icelander, three Indians and two Mozambicans.
The department’s spokesperson Joseph Chauwa said an additional five Nigerians who were also arrested in the same exercise—designed to increase security during the elections period—are awaiting deportation while a Serbian citizen was refused entry into the country for security reasons.
Said Chauwa in a telephone interview yesterday: “These people were arrested through our special operation that we have undertaken since early this month to ensure that the country holds elections in a secure environment. At the moment, we are yet to deport the five Nigerians as we are yet to secure air tickets.”
Chauwa said apart from the illegal immigrants, the department also nabbed 34 asylum seekers who have since been sent to Dzaleka Refugee Camp which is run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Government and other stakeholders have in the recent past expressed worry on the country’s borders which have been described as porous and prone to entry by illegal immigrants who use uncharted routes.
Ministry of Homeland Security Principal Secretary Sam Madula yesterday said plans to make the borders more secure were being hampered by funding challenges.
According to Madula, transport is among the Department of Immigration’s main hiccups.
“You know that our border posts are far in between and that calls for our officers to be mobile in order to increase visibility. We have always lobbied for funding not only to buy vehicles for operations ,but also increase the number of border posts. Illegal immigrants drain our resources as we have to source funding for deportation and feeding of those arrested,” he said.
In 2018, over 100 illegal immigrants were arrested in the country.