Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ZIMBABWEANS SENT BACK HOME!

Zimbabwe detains 160 deportees from South Africa.
By Lance Guma 28 December 2005.

State radio reported that 160 Zimbabweans deported from South Africa are in detention pending interrogations by Zimbabwean police. This follows their deportations on Tuesday in which South Africa used air transport for the first time. Illegal immigrants are normally transported by road and railway but Tuesday’s move took everyone by surprise.

Those deported are currently being held by police at the Harare International Airport pending what authorities say is ‘clearance procedures’. Most of those affected do not have travel documents and had been staying at the internationally condemned Lindela Repatriation Centre in South Africa. Other reports suggest some complained of torture on the plane while others deplored the conditions in which they were held in at Lindela.

South African officials deny the move to deport using air transport is unusual and say they normally carry out such removals from time to time. Over-crowding at Lindela had resulted in the deaths of several inmates and they say they found it necessary to carry out such large removals to ease congestion. On the mode of transport, officials say they were not enough trains over the holiday period to be able to transport the deportees.

A crippling economic and political crisis has forced over 3 million Zimbabweans to seek refuge and jobs in neighbouring countries especially South Africa. Most jump the border without proper documentation and even those who seek to claim asylum, have to contend with government’s that are sympathetic towards Robert Mugabe’s regime.

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