A combined team of security agencies has apprehended four Zambians for trafficking 30 suspected Ethiopians, Immigration officials say.
Department of Immigration Public Relations Officer, Namati Nshinka, said the four were nabbed in connection with a suspected case of smuggling or trafficking of 30 suspected Ethiopians and 13 suspected Somali nationals in Kasama.
Nshinka identified those arrested as Justin Chileshe (30) of Meanwood, Boas Simukonda (33) of Kaunda Square, Philemon Mbewe (33) of John Leing and Titus Chitundu (34) of Matero,
“The operation is connected to and was a continuation of the operation in which the Lusaka Regional Immigration Office, on November 22, 2023, apprehended four Zambians in another suspected migrant smuggling case involving 16 suspected Ethiopian nationals found in a Gazebo in Silverest,” he said.
Nshinka stated that the operation was conducted from November, 22 to November 23, 2023.
He said this was instigated by a report from a concerned owner of a named car hire company when the vehicle tracking system on one of the vehicles he had hired-out flagged some suspicious movements.
“The joint team pursued the matter, tracked and traced the vehicle to Justin Chileshe at a guest house in Kasama’s Lukashya Trades College Area, who had in his custody six Somalis and three Ethiopian undocumented immigrants,” Nshinka added.
He stated that Chileshe led the Officers to a vacant house in the Mukulumpe Area, where 27 other Ethiopians and seven other Somalis were discovered, bringing the total number of undocumented immigrants to 43.
Nshinka said further investigations led the team to the arrest of two suspected masterminds, Bowas Simukonda, and Philemon Mbewe, at Elisho Flats and Apartments.
“In the process of pursuing the two, the team nabbed Titus Chitundu, who for a long time had been on the Immigration wanted list in connection with similar crimes,” he stated.
Nshinka added that the suspect was nabbed at a car wash in Kasama on his way to Nakonde, allegedly to pick up some illegal immigrants.
He indicated that the team, in the process, impounded two white Toyota Fortuners, registration numbers BAT 6042 and BAT 4260, used in transporting the undocumented immigrants.
“The Kasama operation brought the number of persons apprehended on 23rd November, 2023 to 65. On the same day, the Department secured 19 convictions and removed eight illegal immigrants from the country,” Nshinka revealed.
He said the Department had noted with concern the worrying trend in which traffickers and smugglers were hiring motor vehicles to commit crimes.
Nshinka appealed to owners of car hire businesses to closely monitor their vehicles’ movements and the users’ activities to ensure the vehicles are not being used to commit crimes.
“Failure to do so may lead to loss of such vehicle to forfeiture by the State,” he warned.
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