MORE than 200 Zimbabweans were arrested and deported from Botswana over the festive season because their papers were not in order, a weekly paper in the neighbouring country reported yesterday.
Botswana’s weekly Sunday Standard quoted the Matsiloje Police Station commander Obert Manji as saying 205 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe had been arrested within the district alone. Manji said the Zimbabweans illegally crossed into Botswana between December 20 2012 and January 6 this year, a figure he said was of grave concern and indicative of the fact that the neighbouring country could be hosting thousands of illegal Zimbabwe immigrants.
“It is disturbing to note that within that short period of time we recorded such a high number of illegal immigrants,” said Manji.
“The reasons these illegal immigrants gave when interrogated is that they crossed the border into the country mainly because they were looking for part-time jobs in order to get some income.”
Manji added that the issue of illegal border crossing at Matsiloje buffer fence was serious as the illegal immigrants destroyed the border fence. He also advised Botswana nationals to stop harbouring illegal immigrants, saying the habit led to the escalation of crime in the country.
“As the police, one of our major concerns is that there is a tendency by some Batswana to employ illegal immigrants to do piece jobs and in turn refuse to pay them for the work done because they do not have legal documents,” he said.
“This then results in crime as these illegal immigrants would find a way of revenging, resulting in violence, injuries or even death.”
Manji said they had since deported all the illegal immigrants.