A Bulawayo magistrate has ordered that 20 Ugandan nationals and a minor who were arrested on Saturday along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway after illegally entering the country should be deported.
The group included a pregnant woman and a mother with a baby.
The 20 appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Tinashe Tashaya facing a charge of contravening the immigration Act. they were sentenced to three months imprisonment each, which was wholly suspended on condition that they do not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
Mr Tashaya ordered that the illegal immigrants be handed over to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) so that they could be deported back to their country.
In his ruling he said he took into consideration the plight of Africans and their quest to seek better living conditions. He said a non-custodial sentence would help them to sort out their lives.
Mr Tashaya said he also considered that they were first offenders. He urged the public to be wary of con persons masquerading as immigration officials at the country’s borders. “This court takes cognisance of people in transit particularly here in Africa.
As the court, we endeavour to protect all persons in transit. The accused persons are therefore sentenced to three months imprisonment wholly suspended on the condition that they do not commit a similar offence in the next five years,” said Mr Tashaya.