Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga said yesterday that the ministry is closely watching Tanzanians currently deported from Mozambique to ensure that they are safe.
The minister insisted that immigration officials in Mtwara Region were conducting a rigorous vetting of the travel documents to ensure non-Tanzanians are not using the loophole to sneak into the country, illegally.
Speaking at a news conference in Dar es Salaam, Dr Mahiga came out strongly to deny reports that security machineries in Mozambique were subjecting Tanzanian deportees to torture and excessive use of forces.
“In any operation, there are always such complaints where some security personnel can sometimes push a person or do anything in the course of discharging their duties. “But we have been making close monitoring in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Tanzanian authorities in Mozambique and found out that the claims are false,” he explained.
The minister further allayed fears among Tanzanians that the operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Mozambique was targeting Tanzanians, saying it was a normal crackdown on illegal immigrants. He said even Tanzania had previously conducted similar operations to kick out undocumented immigrants.
However, the minister said that Southern African Development Community (SADC) Foreign Ministers are meeting in Dar es Salaam today at the Mwalimu Nyerere Convention Centre to discuss various issues in the region.
He hinted that the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation minister of Mozambique is among the 14 foreign ministers who were expected in the country yesterday to attend the crucial meeting.
Dr Mahiga who will chair the meeting was however not certain if the ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants would feature in the deliberations.
President John Magufuli currently chairs the SADC, with Dr Mahiga chairing the Council of Ministers.