Some of the illegal Ethiopian immigrants sitting in the corridor at the Gwanda prosecution office
(Chronicle) — THERE was pandemonium at Gwanda courts recently when a group of Ethiopians which was intercepted enroute to South Africa, fainted because of hunger, resulting in eight of them being hospitalised.
The 56 Ethiopians led by Lonsako Esatu Sumoro was intercepted last Friday night in West Nicholson in Gwanda after they had entered the country illegally enroute to the neighbouring country.
They were charged with contravening immigration laws and were brought to court under heavy police guard.
However, all hell broke loose as they started complaining of hunger with some of them sobbing.
Good Samaritans provided bread after some of the immigrants fainted.
Court officials had a torrid time assisting them. Eight of them who were in a serious condition were rushed to hospital where they were admitted, rehydrated, fed and discharged. Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service officers’ had to rush to Gwanda prison where they prepared some porridge to feed the remainder.
Gwanda medical superintendent, Dr Purgy Chimberengwa yesterday confirmed admitting eight of the Ethiopians for dehydration and starvation. “All of them were dehydrated and starving. So we just had to rehydrate them and give them food. It was just a feed and discharge process,” said Dr Chimberengwa.
The ages of those admitted ranged from 17 and 27 years. When the Ethiopians finally returned to court Gwanda resident magistrate Mr Obedience Matare refused to place them on remand and they had to be surrendered into the custody of the immigration department which took them to their holding centre in Beitbridge.
The driver of the vehicle which was ferrying them, Norman Dube, was charged with assisting them to enter or depart Zimbabwe without permits. He was fined $500 or 60 days in prison. Last year another group of Ethiopians caused a scene at the same court after they started crying during the court proceedings claiming to be hungry. The group had been intercepte d at Scooter in Filabusi on its way to South Africa.