By Kemo Cham
An unidentified number of Gambians are among a group of at least 58 immigrants from several African countries arrested by the Angolan authorities, according to the Angola Press Agency (Agencia Angolapress). The arrests were reportedly carried out over the weekend by the Fiscal Police based in the northern province of Bengo, the agency reported Sunday 7 February 2010.
This Bengo province is a famous entry point for Africans seeking to enter the natural resource rich Angola illegally in search of better paid jobs. There are quite a substantial number of Gambians in the Southern African nation who are mainly involved in the lucrative diamond trade. But there have been sporadic reports of harassment and maltreatment by the Angola authorities.
Those arrested on Sunday, the press agency report said, are described as illegal immigrants, and they were said to have been caught as they attempted to enter into Luanda province. The report quoted the provincial commander of the Fiscal Police in Bengo, Ernesto Manuel Encoje, as saying that the arrest of the group, all of whom are men and are already under the custody of national Migration and Foreigners Services (SME), took place at Cambala beaches.
28 of the arrested are said to be from conflict threatened Guinea Conakry, with the rest coming from neighboring DRC and Congo Brazzaville, as well as from Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.
In October 2009, the authorities reported the arrest of 31 foreign nationals of mainly Africans; earlier in January this year, 12 DR Congo nationals were arrested for illegally entering the country. The Angolan police, just in the beginning of this month, paraded fourteen ‘illegal’ Africans from some of the countries whose nationals are part of the latest arrest.
By Kemo Cham