Editor's Comment

Keep illegal immigrants out

THE arrest of 67 Ethiopians on Saturday for allegedly entering the country illegally is worrisome.  It is, however, of even more concern that this looks like a growing scourge.  It calls for urgent action to curb it.
It comes barely a week after 48 other Ethiopians were arrested in Kapiri Mposhi for unlawful entry into Zambia.
There have been other reports of foreigners entering Zambia illegally, but rarely have we had such high numbers.
Given this situation, it is highly probable that there are some illegal immigrants that have escaped the dragnet set by the Immigration Department.
As it were, these latest suspects were arrested in Kapiri Mposhi, about 800kms deep inside Zambia after crossing the border, most likely at Nakonde.
There are numerous checkpoints along the route from Nakonde to Kapiri Mposhi and yet in one way or the other they evaded detection.
This brings into question the vigilance of some of Zambia’s law enforcement officers.  Lots of credit must, however, go to those who exposed and effected the latest arrests.
What is of concern is that if these illegal immigrants’ desired destination was anywhere before Kapiri, Zambia would have had over 100 unwanted people.
There actually could be hundreds of such illegals already in various parts of Zambia as evidenced by raids by the Immigration Department in churches.  These raids have exposed scores of illegal immigrants.
Zambia can do without such undesirables.  In fact it must – much more seriously – guard against having strangers in its midst.
Zambians are known for their hospitality but this is certainly not for those that want to sneak into the country with unclear intentions.
The peace and stability that Zambia has enjoyed for close to 50 years should never be taken for granted.  Tolerance of such illegal immigrants could turn the tranquillity into a volatility.  This should not be allowed to happen.
You can never be too sure who these strangers are and what their motives are.  Some of them could be fleeing the law in their respective countries and others could be evil-minded and would not stop at anything to achieve their objectives.
It they have genuine or internationally accepted reasons for leaving their countries, there is no reason why they should travel in containerised trucks.
Zambia does not turn away genuine refugees.  It is a haven for thousands of refugees and so anyone who decides to enter the country hidden in a truck must be treated with utmost suspicion.
Collectively, Zambians must be much more vigilant along the border and in the communities.
Strangers in our midst must be exposed by reporting them to law enforcement agencies like the police and the Immigration Department.
This should not be too difficult to do. Zambia needs to guard its peace jealously.

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