Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Two Somalis have been deported from Botswana on suspicion that they are members of Al-Qaeda terrorist group.
"We can confirm the deportation of two foreign nationals through a Presidential Decree," Ms Lebogang Bok, spokesperson for Botswana Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs told the private weekly, Botswana Gazette.
The paper reported on Wednesday that the men were using non-Somali passports that were found to be suspect.
"They could not account for the passports they were using; when these were scanned, their security features were found to be suspect," the Gazette quoted an unnamed source.
The Somalis were suspected of money-laundering through their car dealership.
Ms Bok could not say whether they were connected to Al-Qaeda because they have not been given the reasons for the deportation. "We are not aware of that information (Al-Qaeda link) because we are never given reasons for deportations through Presidential Decree," she said.
Before their deportation, the two men had slapped the Botswana government with a P2.5 million (1 USD = P7.94) lawsuit for unlawful arrest and detention after they were apprehended last December.
The men said they were harassed by Botswana security agents and immigration officers. Their lawyer, Mr Morgan Moseki has said he will press head with the suit as the two deportees had given him a power of attorney.
Meanwhile, it recently took 12 hours to convince 92 Somalis who wanted to illegally enter Botswana from South Africa to refrain from the action.
The illegal immigrants were spotted by Botswana state agents while trying to enter the country through an ungazetted point. The Somalis said they were fleeing xenophobic attacks in South Africa where they have been granted refugee status.
A Botswana immigration officer, Mr Joseph Motsumi said they had a hard time trying to convince the Somalis not to cross the border.