Zimbabwean police in Beitbridge, on the border with South Africa, reportedly arrested more than 2,000 would-be illegal border-crossers, including 31 Somalian nationals, in a recent period of 12 days, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.
Most of the Zimbabweans arrested in the police blitz, which officials dubbed Operation Restore Sanity, paid fines and were released, the newspaper said. The Herald said a total of 2,189 individuals were picked up while trying to cross the Limpopo River. The 31 Somalis were thought to have broken out of holding camps in Zimbabwe.
The flood of would-be emigrants reflects the continuing collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. Between 2 and 3 million Zimbabweans have emigrated to South Africa.
Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, said in an interview with reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Zimbabweans are not the only ones engaged in border-jumping, as Zimbabweans call it.
Moyo said the Harare government is working tirelessly to address the root causes of the economic crisis to stem the rampant tide of illegal border crossers.