Tanzania Deports 253 Ethiopian Illegal Migrants: IOM

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The returnees at Bole International Airport
Hundreds of illegal Ethiopian immigrants have been nabbed by police as they are trying to made their way to South Africa through illegal entry points in Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe. (Picture: The returnees at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa)

By IOM Ethiopia,

SOME 253 illegal Ethiopian migrants who have been detained for more than a year in Tanzania, including 30 unaccompanied minors, have been deported back to Ethiopia last week (28th Nov).

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) facilitated their return. 

The 30 unaccompanied minors are currently sheltered at a temporarily rehabilitation center set-up by IOM.

The returnees, who were released from Tanzanian prisons last week, were staying at temporary stations provided by IOM Tanzania until their pre-departure medical screening and travel documents were finalized.

They were detained at the borders of Tanzania while attempting to illegally enter South Africa. The migrants were charged and imprisoned by Tanzanian authorities for trespassing. The migrants were detained in two regions in Tanzania namely Mbeya and Pwani in three prison facilities called Ruanda, Ubena and Kigongoni.

Most of the returnees were released after serving their prison terms for over one year, while some were pardoned by the Tanzanian Government before serving time.

The IOM in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Tanzanian Immigration Department registered and verified their nationalities during their stay in prison. After the verification, IOM Tanzania conducted a pre-departure medical screening to assess the conditions of the migrants and chartered a flight to bring them back to their home country.

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Most of the returnees originated from the Southern regions of Ethiopia. Upon arrival, IOM Ethiopia will provide an overnight stay accommodation and handout onward transportation allowance for them to get back to their place of origin.

All of the returnees are male with 30 of them being unaccompanied minors. IOM Ethiopia in collaboration with Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs and UNICEF will conduct a family tracing for the unaccompanied minors and reunite them with their families in the coming weeks. Hence, until the family tracing is complete, the unaccompanied minors will be staying at the IOM Transit Center in Addis Ababa.