Dar es Salaam. A total of 132 Tanzanians have been deported from Mozambique in a crackdown on illegal immigrants in the southern African country, the government confirmed yesterday.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African, Regional and International Cooperation, Dr Susan Kolimba, told a news conference yesterday that the government was monitoring the operation to ensure that the rights of Tanzanians in Mozambique were safeguarded.
“The government of Tanzania, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our embassy in Maputo, the regional administration in Mtwara and the Immigration Department, is working to ensure the rights of Tanzanians under international law are not violated,” she said.
The deputy minister added that the government was aware of complaints by some of those affected that their passports were seized by Mozambican authorities, who also ignored the fact that some of the deportees owned movable and immovable assets in Mozambique.
“We’re working to establish the facts through our embassy in Maputo...hopefully, everything will be fine, and people don’t have to worry. In can assure them that diplomatic interventions are in full swing. We are doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our people and their possessions,” she said.
Dr Kolimba added, however, that Tanzanians were only the only ones caught up in the crackdown.
“We have been informed by our counterparts in Mozambique that the operation is mainly being conducted in Montepuez, the second largest city in Cabo Delgado province, which is said to be teeming with illegal immigrants from various countries...therefore Tanzanians aren’t the only ones being targeted by Mozambican authorities.”
The deportees arrived safely in Mtwara, where they were vetted by the regional immigration office. Fifty-eight Tanzanians were kicked out of Mozambique last Saturday, 24 on Tuesday and 50 yesterday. Dr Kolimba said there were an estimated 3,000 Tanzanians in Montepuez.
She added that representatives of the two countries held talks in Cabo Delgado province last December. Trade and immigration were among bilateral issues discussed.
Dr Kolimba reminded Tanzanians wishing to travel abroad to ensure they had the required documents to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.
“To be on the safe side, people must have all the required documents. Anything to the contrary is likely to land one in trouble.”