Monday, 27 April 2020


FIFTEEN Ethiopian illegal immigrants who were recently arrested while hiding at a homestead in Swisha, Gwanda have been released from prison pending deportation.

Police raided their hideout, a homestead in Mawane One Village on March 31 at around 1AM and detained them.  A Zimbabwean man who was assisting them who was only identified as Bheki escaped.

The Ethiopians were placed on remand at the Gwanda Prison after they were tested for Covid-19 and results came out negative.  The Ethiopians appeared before Gwanda Provincial Magistrate, Ms Charity Maphosa facing a charge of contravening the Immigration Act.

Charges against them were withdrawn before plea.

Prosecuting, Mr Mncedisi Dube said the State was withdrawing charges as the matter will proceed in terms of Section (8)(1) of the Immigration Act. He said the accused persons will be deported back to Ethiopia.

According to State papers, the group was intercepted following a tip off from community members. 

The group entered the country through an unknown port of entry without valid travelling documents on an unknown date between March 1 and March 25.

“On 30 March at around 8PM police received information that there was a group of Ethiopian illegal immigrants who were being kept at a homestead in Mawane One in Gwanda.

“Police officers stationed at Guyu Police Station and CID Gwanda went to Nyorovedzo Ndlovu’s homestead on March 31 at around 1AM,” reads the State papers.

“They found the 15 accused persons sleeping in a spare bedroom while one of their assistants from Zimbabwe only known as Bheki was sleeping in the main bedroom.

“Upon realising that he had been cornered by the police Bheki bolted out of the bedroom through the window and escaped.

“The 15 accused persons were then arrested and secured at the homestead awaiting screening for Covid-19.”.
The State papers said medical staff from Gwanda Provincial Hospital examined the group and accused number 15 tested positive for malaria.

He was taken to hospital where he was treated and discharged. Due to communication barrier, it was only ascertained that the accused persons were from Ethiopia without valid travelling documents.

The port of entry which they used could not be established since the person who was assisting them in Zimbabwe escaped. Chronicle


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