Police in Rumphi and Mzimba have arrested 46 Ethiopian nationals for entering the country illegally.
The law enforcers in the two northern region districts have also arrested five Malawian nationals for aiding the illegal entry of the Ethiopians and impounded four vehicles and two motorcycles used in the missions.
The Police arrested the suspects on separate occasions on Tuesday upon acting on tips from well-wishers.
Out of the 46 Ethiopian nationals, twenty-six were arrested at Hewe in Rumphi while 20 were arrested in Mzimba along the Eswazini-Mzalangwe Junction earth road.
“On the day, police received information that there were some vehicles suspected to have carried illegal immigrants and were heading towards Hewe Trading Centre from Kanyenjere Boarder,” Noel Kamchenga, Rumphi Police Station Spokesperson said.
Kamchenga explained that upon receiving the tip, officers from Hewe Police Unit mobilized and mounted a temporary roadblock.
He said within a short period of time, two speeding vehicles appeared, approaching the roadblock, and while officers signaled them to stop, the drivers disobeyed the signal and sped off.
“A few minutes later, three other vehicles approached the snap roadblock at high speed, the drivers also ignored the stop signal, and this prompted the officers to shoot in the air but still in vain. The police then, resorted to shooting at the vehicles’ tires, and due to the impact, the vehicles failed to move a long distance,” Kamchenga explained.
He added that a follow-up was made, and the 26 Ethiopians were arrested upon failure to produce proper traveling documents while four Malawians were arrested for aiding the illegal entry.
According to Kamchenga, the four Malawians are Wongani Chipeta aged 24, James Kambelengondo, 27, Andrew Mwanyongo aged 35, and 23-year-old MacDonald Mbewe.
“Police also impounded three vehicles. The vehicles are an Isuzu KB registration number KA 10326, a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado registration number MH 6287, and a Toyota Fortuner registration number LL 2616. They also impounded two motorcycles used by the suspects,” he said.
In Mzimba, the district’s police publicist Peter Botha explained that members of the community tipped the police about a vehicle suspected to have carried the illegal immigrants, which was heading towards Mzimba Boma.
“Following the tip, police immediately mounted an ad hoc roadblock. At around 1100 hours, officers intercepted a Toyota Hilux Double Cabin registration number BR 2830,” Botha said.
He added; “Upon searching, twenty Ethiopian nationals and one Malawian, Chipiliro Masulani aged 37 were found in the motor vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle before the search, and we have launched a manhunt.”