Malawian border jumpers escape from custody at Beitbridge

ZIMBABWE  – Authorities in Zimbabwe have launched an investigation into the disappearance of 23 Malawian border jumpers who were in police custody at Beitbridge police station while awaiting transport to Harare pending deportation.

The group was initially arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police last week while transiting past Zimbabwe, attempting to cross into South Africa.

State-owned newspaper The Herald reported two of the immigrants were said to have tested positive for Covid-19.

The group had reportedly entered Zimbabwe illegally and were arrested on a footpath in Beitbridge.

“A security source said following their arrest, they were charged for exit by evasion under the Immigration Act. They were taken to court where they appeared before Miss Vavariro Nhau, who warned, cautioned and released them to immigration authorities for further management,” The Herald reported.

After the court arrangement, the group was reportedly kept at the Beitbridge main police station pending transportation to Harare.

The Herald reported the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had provided funding for the group’s transportation to Harare, under the regional facility for stranded migrants.

When the IOM-sponsored bus arrived in Beitbridge to pick up the immigrants on Thursday, they were gone.

Last week, EFF leader Julius Malema lambasted President Cyril Ramaphosa for closing the country’s land borders while allowing airports in the country to continue operating.

He said the closure of borders while airports were allowed to welcome international visitors was misguided.

Malema said the closure of the Lesotho border was irrational as there was no fence between it and SA.

“Whether you close the border or not, the Lesotho people are going to come into SA and they are going to come through an unregulated process without being tested and without being processed because fools have closed the gate where there is no fence,” he said.

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