Mozambique launches operation against Tanzanians illegal miners

By Jorge Joaquim

Police in Montepuez district, Cabo Delgado province, have found a large number of illegal immigrants from Tanzania carrying out unlicensed mining in the area – promising to expel them in the coming days.

Vicente Chicote, the provincial chief of police, said it was unacceptable that foreigners were pillaging Mozambican resources, and even more so if they had not regularised their immigration status.

The Mozambican Immigration Service (SENAMI), for other hands, wants to intensify migration inspection in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, in a context of the terrorist attacks that parts of that province have been facing since 2017.

The appeal comes after Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi criticized, last month, the excessive presence of illegal foreigners in Cabo Delgado.

The director-general of the SENAMI, Fulgêncio Seda, who is visiting the province, presented on Saturday the staff who will operate in the new immigration control post in the district of Montepuez.

‘Your main mission is to go to the interior of the district to inspect foreigners. Those who are not legal will naturally be intercepted, taken to the appropriate places and repatriated if necessary’, Fulgêncio said.

In a visit to Cabo Delgado, Filipe Nyusi criticized the apathy of the immigration authorities faced with the growing number of undocumented migrants.

‘There is a large number of illegal foreigners in Cabo Delgado province, that is why we have problems. Nothing happens to the large portion of people who don’t have documents up to date’, the president said.

On the occasion, Nyusi also pointed out corruption schemes that result in the illicit attribution of Mozambican documents to immigrants.

‘There are many people who don’t know any Mozambican national languages, and they don’t even speak Portuguese”, said the President. How was it possible that such people had been granted Mozambican documents?

The director-general of SENAMI also did not hide his concern with what he considers the ‘proliferation of economic activities’ carried out by migrants in Cabo Delgado.

‘We will have to assess whether or not the foreigners who are developing these economic activities are actually here legally. This is possible through inspection work’, Fulgêncio explained.

Among the measures that may facilitate the verification of the legality of the immigrants are the proposed census of foreigners living in the country and the construction of computer systems to deal with the data. But no start-up date for the census has yet been fixed.

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