Tanzania hunt for il­le­gal aliens goes door-to-door

Of­fi­cials ver­i­fy­ing IDS of Kagera and Kigoma res­i­dents

The East African - - NEWS - By BOB KARASHANI The Eastafrican

Tanzania's Home Af­fairs Min­istry has ini­ti­ated yet an­other crack­down on il­le­gal im­mi­grants, tar­get­ing its bor­ders with the Great Lakes re­gion.

Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Kangi Lu­gola has or­dered im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials to con­duct house-to-house searches in Kagera and Kigoma re­gions, which bor­der Uganda, Rwanda, Bu­rundi, and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

The op­er­a­tion is ex­pected to be com­pleted in time for lo­cal govern­ment (civic) elec­tions in the tar­geted re­gions, which are sched­uled for July, Mr Lu­gola said in his direc­tive to Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral of Im­mi­gra­tion Anna Makakala.

The op­er­a­tion will also in­volve a fresh ver­i­fi­ca­tion of na­tional iden­tity cards is­sued to res­i­dents of those re­gions over the past cou­ple of years.

Speak­ing at a pub­lic rally in Karagwe dis­trict, near the bor­der with Uganda, the min­is­ter also warned im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials against tak­ing bribes.

“Be warned, if I get hold of such an of­fi­cer, there will be no mercy…. Their job is gone,” he said.

Dealing with il­le­gal im­mi­grants has been a thorny prob­lem in Tanzania's bor­der re­gions, with Kagera in the north­west, Kigoma in the west, Rukwa in the south­east and Mara in the north as the most af­fected.

Last week, po­lice in Moro­goro de­tained 11 il­le­gal mi­grants from So­ma­lia be­ing trans­ported to Iringa in a Toy­ota mini­van.

On De­cem­ber 10, Ethiopian il­le­gal mi­grants were in­ter­cepted crammed be­hind the driver's seat of a cargo truck in Songwe re­gion. The truck was trans­port­ing im­ported petrol from Dar es Salaam to Zam­bia.

Days ear­lier, 26 im­mi­grants from the same coun­try — half of them al­ready dead —had been found aban­doned in a cargo con­tainer on the Moro­goro-iringa high­way.

Most of the im­mi­grants en­ter Tanzania through of­fi­cial and un­of­fi­cial chan­nels, in­clud­ing un­reg­is­tered en­try points, but there have been many cases of hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Some es­cape from refugee camps while oth­ers en­ter the coun­try as no­madic pas­toral­ists. In most cases, they are hired by the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties as domestic or farm work­ers.

There has been a pro­posal that im­mi­grants who have resided in Tanzania for a long time be sub­jected to "special screen­ing" to de­ter­mine their lev­els of loy­alty and po­ten­tial for cit­i­zen­ship.

Au­thor­i­ties say they are en­dan­ger­ing the coun­try's so­cial and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity, while also pos­ing se­cu­rity risks.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Im­mi­gra­tion De­part­ment last week show that 12,600 il­le­gal mi­grants were ar­rested in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try be­tween Jan­uary and Novem­ber last year, the ma­jor­ity be­ing Bu­run­dian and Mozam­bi­can. Of those, 6,918 were repa­tri­ated while 2,499 were charged in the courts for vi­o­lat­ing the coun­try's im­mi­gra­tion laws.

"The il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion prob­lem is not just con­fined to Tanzania... it's world­wide, and that's why we de­port most of them to their home coun­tries rather than pros­e­cute them in court for breaking the law," said Im­mi­gra­tion De­part­ment spokesman Ally Mtanda.

The de­part­ment cited Bu­rundi, DRC and Nige­ria as coun­tries whose na­tion­als were de­nied en­try into Tanzania be­tween Jan­uary and Novem­ber last year. Kenya was fourth on the list, with 32 de­nied en­try.

The il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion prob­lem is world­wide. That’s why we de­port most of them to their coun­tries rather than pros­e­cute them.” Ally Mtanda, spokesman, Im­mi­gra­tion De­part­ment

Pic­ture: File

Bu­run­dian refugees on the shores of Lake Tan­ganyika in Kigoma re­gion, western Tanzania.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.