Zimbabwe’s security forces have arrested six Kenyans on charges of entering the country illegally through its porous border with South Africa.
The Kenyans were arrested at the Beitbridge Border Post on May 27 at around 2am as they entered Zimbabwe from South Africa after it was discovered that they had fake Zimbabwean immigration date stamps.
Musa Abdullahi Hussein (44), Mohamed Abdille (43), Ali Mohamed Abdi (37), Hussein Harun Bullo (34), Muhamed Abdirahman Issack (34) and Ibrahimbashir Durow (34) were travelling by road in transit to Kenya.
On Monday, they appeared before Beitbridge magistrate Annia Chimweta charged with violating the country’s Immigration Act.
They were convicted and cautioned against repeating the same offence. They are still in custody pending deportation.
Prosecutor Esnath Vengedza told the court that on arrival at the border, the Kenyans engaged the services of a bogus immigration officer, who stamped two passports and travel documents for a fee.
The six were arrested at a security checkpoint as they left the border after it was discovered that their travel documents had an immigration date stamp that didn’t exist and they implicated the bogus immigration officer.
Beitbridge, the busiest border post in southern Africa, is a hub for human trafficking syndicates facilitating illegal entry into South Africa for people from all over the continent.
The syndicates take advantage of corrupt border officials from both countries to smuggle desperate immigrants.
South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has in the past expressed concern about “corruption on the Zimbabwe side of the Beitbridge Border Post.”
Dr Motsoaledi early this year accused Zimbabwean soldiers of taking bribes to help people cross the border illegally.
During a visit to the border post, he said he was shown evidence of travellers without valid Covid-19 vaccination certificates or passports being “assisted” by soldiers to enter South Africa.
“We are worried. We have said this before that we heard rumours that there are people who will come with fraudulent certificates and we have found them, and we are returning them,” Dr Motsoaledi said then.
“They showed me a video where Zimbabwean soldiers and police were helping people to come to (South Africa.)”