15 persons were apprehended by the Department of Immigration during the course of a four-day investigation, including FOUR suspected human trafficking masterminds.
The Department has been engaged in an operation to dismantle a human trafficking and smuggling organization in Lusaka, Chirundu, and Siavonga this week.
The conspirators, two of whom are from Zambia and two from Tanzania, have been smuggling people with Somali and Ethiopian ancestry.
When plans were being finalized to deliver the illegal immigrants to two Zambian masterminds who were at the time of the operation in Chirundu and Siavonga, respectively, the two Tanzanians were chosen.
“On April 26,2023, the two Zambian Masterminds engaged a Driver of a Toyota Hiace Public Service Mini-Bus and his Co-Driver to receive the illegal immigrants to transport some to Chirundu and others to Siavonga.
“However, both the Driver and his Co-Driver were nabbed by the team of Officers at Lusaka’s Heroes Stadium, where they had gone to pick up the illegal immigrants. During their arrest, the Mini-Bus had on board other unsuspecting Zambian passengers destined for Chirundu, who were deliberately picked to avoid suspicion at roadblocks. In the late hours of April 26, 2023, the Officers apprehended one Zambian Mastermind in Chirundu aboard a Toyota Allion BAF 6960 as he attempted to receive some of the illegal immigrants,” Department public relations officer Namati Nshinka said.
When they received the other illegal immigrants, he claimed that in the early hours of April 27, another Zambian Mastermind and his co-driver were detained in Siavonga onboard a Toyota Hiace, but the co-driver escaped and is still at large.
All four suspected masterminds are currently detained in safe custody in Lusaka, while the eight Somali and one Ethiopian suspected victims of trafficking are in the department’s custody awaiting further formalities. Meanwhile, the two Hiace Buses, Toyota Allion and Toyota Cresta have been impounded. The four-day operation brings the number of persons apprehended by the Department of Immigration on April 26, 2023 to 35,” Mr Nshika said.
Two Zambians, Richard Chansa of Ndola and Monty Bwalya, 34, of Kapiri Mposhi, were found guilty by the department in a separate incidence of encouraging the passage of illegal immigrants.