By Vumani Mthiyane
Fifteen Ethiopian illegal immigrants who were arrested while hiding at a homestead in Gwanda on Tuesday have appeared in court facing charges of illegally entering the country.
The immigrants appeared before Gwanda provincial magistrate Charity Maphosa on Wednesday charged with contravening the Immigration Act section 12 (5)(a) chapter 4.02, entry by evasion.
They were remanded in custody to April 22, 2020.
However, they are likely to be put in an isolation centre as a precautionary measure as they are still being assessed for coronavirus.
The immigrants were nabbed at Nyorebedzo Ndlovu’s homestead in Mawane village under chief Nhlamba area in Guyu where they were reportedly hiding.
They were identified as Abdi Adem, Habeb Akmei, Tamesgn Nareco, Fakadu Wolebo, Mukamil Nunye, Melkamu Zeleke, Akamqi Dari, Shika Ayamudi, Muhoba Tama, Feeysal Xaahaa, Berardi Kabamn, Dasal Mehde, Meri Abidla and Beradin Batiso.
The state representative Mncedisi Dube told the court that on March 30, 2020, at around 8 pm police received information that the immigrants were being kept at Ndlovu`s homestead.
“Upon arrival at the homestead, the fifteen accused were found sleeping in one spare bedroom while one of their Zimbabwean assistant only known as Bheki was sleeping in the main bedroom.
“Upon noticing that they had been cornered by the police, Bheki bolted out of the bedroom through the window and escaped. The fifteen accused were then arrested and secured at the homestead awaiting screening for novel coronavirus,” said Dube.
Dube continued: “The medical staff from Gwanda Provincial Hospital were summoned who examined them by taking their temperatures and noticed that they did not have signs of the infection. However, accused number 15 tested positive to malaria and was taken to hospital where he was admitted.”
He said the state was yet to ascertain how they entered into the country as they were not in possession of valid passports.