Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Ethiopia is lobbying for the release of 224 nationals detained in Tanzania over allegations of illegal entry, the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Sunday.
In a press statement, MoFA said Ethiopia requested the release of 224 nationals during discussions between Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu and Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Augustine Philip Mahiga on the sidelines of the 11th extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU).
The summit was held at the headquarters of the AU in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Nov. 17-18.
The 224 Ethiopian nationals were arrested in Tanzania on their way to their final destination, South Africa.
Gebeyehu asked the Tanzanian authorities to pardon the 224 Ethiopians so that they can return home.
Mahiga, for his part, said the Tanzanian government is looking closely at the issue of the detained Ethiopians and will resolve the matter shortly in the interest of pan-Africanism.
Human traffickers reportedly use various countries as transit points to smuggle Ethiopians to South Africa, which is home to tens of thousands of both legal and undocumented Ethiopians.
Despite a growing economy and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking by the Ethiopian government, thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to South Africa annually where they are mainly engaged in the informal economy.
According to the Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, human traffickers charge an average of 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. dollars to smuggle a single individual from Ethiopia to South Africa.
© Bur-csa – A.H – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV)