Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
Authorities here are investigating a case in which 23 Malawian border jumpers disappeared from Beitbridge Police Station while awaiting transportation to Harare pending deportation to their country.
Two of the immigrants are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.
The border jumpers are Ousmane Austin (27), Yamaya Saidi (26), Sumati Jamali (18), Hake Idrasl (23), Hajira Joe (23), Edward Master (18), Fatima Mark (27), Musa James (27), Bernard Chimenya (25), Dennis Bwala (18), Gladys Shucha (24), Enock Halwa (24), Juiro Ajalu (18), Frank Mayazi (28), Blessings Wiseman (21), and Witness Mdala (21).
The others are Erison Lestah (24), Lejabo Mbewe (23), Fulani Witness (30), Adam Musa (22), Mark Musa (20), Madson Mwinjiro (37) and Matola Yusuf (19).
It is reported that the border jumpers were busted by the police as they sought to illegally leave the country on Monday morning at around 4 AM.
The group had allegedly entered the country illegally and were in transit to South Africa when they were arrested on a footpath near the old border post offices.
A security source said following their arrest they were charged for exit by evasion under the immigration Act.
“They were taken to court and appeared before Miss Vavariro Nhau who warned, cautioned and released them to immigration authorities for further management.
“Arrangements were then made to keep them at Beitbridge Police Station pending transportation to Harare.
“The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) sponsored their transportation under the regional facility for stranded migrants,” said the source.
The official said when a Zupco bus arrived in Beitbridge on Thursday, it was discovered that all the migrants had absconded.
The police officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, and the Assistant Regional Immigration officer in charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube could not be reached for comment.
Last year two Malawian border jumpers who tested positive to Covid-19 escaped from isolation.
One of the escapees was intercepted by security agents as he sought transport to Malawi at the closed Dulivadzimu Long-distance Bus Terminus.
His accomplice was not found.