By Scoop Reporter

THE Department of Immigration in Lusaka’s Zanimuone two days ago intercepted 114 Ethiopians in a suspected human smuggling case.

Public Relations Officer Namati H. Nshinka said the officers raided a three-bedroomed house last Saturday following a tip-off received from the public.

Mr. Nshinka said the Ethiopians, some of whom visibly appeared to have been physically abused, starved and deprived of freedom of movement were found sleeping on the floor of the house whose windows were completely covered by very heavy dark curtains.

He said preliminary investigations suggested that the Ethiopians have been held in the house for at least six months.

“The vulnerable and helpless state in which the captives were found crowded in such a small space has demonstrated just how evil and merciless human traffickers and smugglers can be. This is why the Department is doing everything possible to apprehend anyone connected to these criminal activities.

“To this effect, we wish to encourage anyone with information on the people behind this criminality to come forward. All the 114 are being held pending conclusion of investigations,” Mr. Nshinka said.

Meanwhile, the Lusaka Regional Immigration Office has jointly charged two Congolese and a Rwandese for being found in possession of a forged immigration stamp contrary to section 52(4) (e) as read with 56(1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act No. 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars are that male Banza Kalumba Ngoie, 53, a Congolese national, jointly and while acting together with male Fabrice Tshimba Doko 31, a Congolese national, and female Ndayashimiye Regina 33, a Rwandese national, between 1st and 3rd February, 2021 in Lusaka did forge an entry stamp for Nakonde Border Control which was endorsed in a Burundian Passport number OB0221555 belonging to female Niyonkuru Mediatrice, without lawful authority.

This was after the trio were implicated in an incident in which Niyonkuru Mediatrice, a Rwandese national who was leaving Zambia was intercepted by alert Immigration Officers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for being in possession of a forged entry endorsement stamp for Nakonde Border Control as well as a forged visa receipt.

The forged stamp was later traced to Banza Kalumba Ngoie. A search on Mr. Ngoie resulted in the discovery of a fake stamp for Nakonde Border Control, and a Congolese passport bearing a forged Kipushi stamp.

“This is a good break for the Department as we have observed of late an increase in cases of forged stamps. We know that there are more such criminals carrying-out such activities. Our promise to them is that we are closer to catching them than they think,” Mr. Nshinka said.

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