Immigration officers on Thursday detained 55 Ethiopians at Tukumbo in Nkhata Bay for entering the country without valid travel documents.
The security agents also impounded two vehicles and arrested four Malawians who allegedly aided the group’s travel and entry.
Department of Immigration regional deputy spokesperson Francis Chitambuli said they nabbed the migrants on the Lakeshore Road after an alert from a whistleblower.
“We deployed immigration officers after receiving a tip-off from a well-wisher that there was an engine boat from Mbeya in Tanzania sailing on Lake Malawi which had suspicious people on board entering the country,” he explained.
The 55 were packed in two minibuses, registration KK 6589 and MJ 7124.
Chitambuli said the suspected Malawian accomplices were reportedly armed with pangas and other dangerous weapons.
He said one of the Malawians told interrogators that the Ethiopians, aged between 15 and 40, were travelling to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa from where they would later proceed to South Africa.
When they appear in court, the Malawians—identified as drivers Isaac Chikhosi, 38, and Chifundo Manda, 32 and their assistants Simoko Simeon, 32, and Maloto Maloni, 35—will answer the charge of aiding and abetting illegal entrants contrary to Section 36 of the Immigration Act.