136 Somalis arrested

The Immigration Department has arrested 136 illegal immigrants following their Tuesday operation in Lusaka’s Emmasdale, Matero and Chaisa townships.

Home Affairs Head-Public Relations Moses Suwali said a combined team of officers from Immigration, DEC and Police swung into action in Emmasdale, Matero and Chaisa townships and apprehended suspected illegal immigrants mainly from Somali.

“After the screening process, about 136 illegal immigrants were found with no documents and have since been detained in police custody spread in various police stations in Lusaka and the screening process will continue because some of them claimed that they had left the documents at their homes,” Mr Suwali said.

He said some of the immigrants were found with drugs, large sums of money and IT equipment suspected to be used for pornographic materials.

Mr Suwali said the Ministry of Home Affairs had embarked on countrywide ‘Clean-Up Operations’ to arrest illegal immigrants.

He urged members of the public to ensure that they carried their valid personal documents all the time to avoid being mistaken for illegal immigrants.

Mr Suwali said the operations were being undertaken by Home Affairs through its departments which include Police, Immigration and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).

“It must be noted that under the Immigration Laws, staying in the country without documents is in itself a criminal offence which gives Immigration powers to remove such illegal immigrants from Zambia to their countries of origin even without the due court process,” Mr Suwali said.

He further said the immigration department would consider removing the illegal immigrants from Zambia to their respective countries.

“This will help cut on time and money as well as avoid congesting police cells and prisons which are already under pressure,” Mr Suwali said

He added that the exercise would continue until all illegal immigrants were apprehended.

“We will not be announcing dates and times to avoid alerting the criminal elements,” he said