They were arrested on Monday (21 October) at about 10:00 at the Lutumba toll gate outside Beit Bridge. It followed the interception of the cross-border bus transporting them.
It has been established that the Ethiopians entered Zimbabwe from Mozambique through an illegal crossing point. Beit Bridge police spokesperson Chief Supt Lawrence Chinhengo said the group would appear in court soon on charges of entry by evasion. The suspects are aged between 20 and 30. Chinhengo said three bus crew members, Richmore Mundihwo (40), Misheck Demhe (33) and Roselyne Munhenga (29), were also arrested and had already appeared in court.
“We have had a number of such cases, where these illegal immigrants enter the country through Mutare and they would have been assisted by an organised syndicate. We do not tolerate criminal activities such as irregular migration and we have intensified our investigations,” said Chinhengo.
In May 2011, Zimbabwe and South Africa immigration officials met and agreed to deal decisively with illegal immigrants, mainly from countries in the Horn of Africa. The resolution was made after a meeting held in Beit Bridge between security agents and immigration officials from both countries. The barring of East Africans from entering South Africa also follows the recent enactment of the Refugee Amendment Bill by the South African Parliament.