…strategise repatriation of 1,900 detainees back to Ethiopia
PLANS to repatriate 1,900 Ethiopian detainees currently in the country’s various prisons are on the final stage.
Commissioner General of Immigration Dr Anna Makakala said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that the repatriation follows a visit by the Immigration Department, International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) and Ethiopian Embassy to Ukonga and Segerea prisons last week.
The visit aimed at among other things to explore ways of conveniently deporting the prisoners to their home country.
“The costs of transporting the detainees will be borne by themselves through their relatives back home…the Ethiopian Embassy will coordinate the job while the Immigration Department and IOM participate in ensuring that the prisoners are not freed to meander on streets,” Dr Makakala told ‘Daily News’ on a telephone interview yesterday.
She said the Immigration Department is in talks with the Ethiopian government through the embassy to find an amicable solution to the problem.
“We have a meeting next month to come up with common understanding on the best approach to tackle this problem and eliminate it for good,” revealed the commissioner general Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Damas Ndumbaro saying yesterday that majority of Ethiopians were under police custody or serving jail terms due to their illegal entries in the country.
“Ethiopians and other people crossing to South Africa perceive Tanzania as their shortest and safest route for human trafficking… the route is considered the shortest and most peaceful, assuring them of clear transition… illegal immigrants abhor routes through unsettled neighboring countries,” Ndumbaro explained.
He charged that apart from the entries being illegal, people are transported in inhuman conditions— crammed into transit cars and other means of transport just like cargo.
Dr Ndumbaro commended the Immigration Department’s vigilance, which led to identification of immigrants’ hideout as part of finding the lasting solution to the problem of dehumanisation acts in the country.
Reached for details on the state of detained illegal immigrants in the country, Prisons Department Spokesperson Superintendent of Prisons Amina Kavirondo said the border regions have a big number of immigrants because they easily integrate through shoddy paths.
“Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Mbeya regions have many detained and convicted illegal immigrants while Bagamoyo District in Coast region plays a unique role as some of the immigrants enter the country through the Indian Ocean using substandard boats that dock at some hidden beaches,” she clarified Last week, authorities in Coast region arrested 12 Ethiopian immigrants in Chalinze, claiming to have intended to cross over to South Africa.
According to reports, the Ethiopians had two Tanzanians serving them food and other basic needs.