Arusha Regional Immigration Officer has appealed to the public to help the government stop illegal immigration by informing security organs about people who enter Tanzania through unofficial routes.
Daniel Namwomba said: “The immigration department alone cannot win this war against illegal immigrants who see Tanzania as their safe destination, but only through closer cooperation with local people.
“Illegal immigrants are very dangerous and pose a serious problem to the country’s security,” he explained when addressing a press conference here yesterday.
He referred to a daunting task of controlling the 450kilometre Tanzania/Kenya border stretching from Kilimanjaro Region to Mara Region, saying the fight against illegal migrants could be won if the public informed security organs about people they suspect in their areas.
“Most illegal immigrants from Somalia and Ethiopia enter Arusha Region through unofficial routes, treating the region as their gateway to southern African countries and beyond.
“But these mmigrants get into the country with support from local people, who know where to hide them and assist them to get-out the country,” he said.
“We believe there are some Good Samaritans, who can give us tip-offs whenever they come across suspected illegal immigrants and inform us, and we’ll take punitive measures against the perpetuators,” Namwomba stressed.
According to the regional immigration officer, 328 illegal immigrants were arrested. Out of them 153 were Kenyans while the rest were Somalia, Ethiopia, Ugandan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, DRC, Siera Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Eritrea and Jamaica.
Others were from Sudan, China, India, Canada, Italy, USA, Burundi and German.
From January to June this year 88 illegal immigrants were arrested and legal action taken against them. Some of them were deported.
“Budget constraints are a challenge facing our department, this makes it hard to accomplish our mission,” he said, adding that they need about new 50 immigration officers.
Meanwhile, he said his force will soon start issuing temporary travel documents to people living near boarders to facilitate easy movement of villagers in the neighbouring countries.