*19 suspected human trafficking victims escape
*Talk to Tutume council, it’s not our matter-Police
There’s a massive hunt for six Ethiopians from the 19 that escaped on Wednesday night from a safe house in Francistown.
The Ethiopians are part of the 40 rescued from a truck at Ngwasha gate on 14th August.
A cargo truck, transporting 40 illegal Ethiopian nationals to South Africa was intercepted by Botswana authorities at the Ngwasha gate near Nata village, and its driver was immediately arrested while his human cargo was housed at a safe place to allow for further investigations.
On Thursday morning 19 men were reported missing prompting a frantic search for the Ethiopians.
Tutume District Council Chairperson Thatayaone Kehetile confirmed the escape to Voice online in an interview this morning.
“I went to check on them yesterday, and I was briefed that 19 men escaped through a hole in the fence on Wednesday night. 13 of them were apprehended on Thursday around Donga area,” he said.
“They don’t know Francistown, and were just walking aimlessly. I heard that four of them were seriously injured as they tried to escape by scaling walls in Donga. Six are still on the run,” said Kehitile.
Meanwhile Botswana Police through the Acting Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Selinah Omphile did not entertain any questions from The Voice, instead referring all queries to Tutume Council.
“This is not our matter. The 40 Ethiopians are under the care of the council, we did our part and handed them over,” said Omphile.
She said they were only assisting the council whenever they’re needed.
“These people are not treated as suspects, that’s why they’re under council care, but since council does not have its own police unit they rely on us for assistance,” she said, further saying she was not aware if police officers were involved in the hunt for the escaped Ethiopians.
Confusingly, Kehitile told the Voice Online that the police are responsible for providing security at the safe house.
“Our duty as Council is only to provide psycho-social support,” he said.
“The police, are handling the security, they were leading the manhunt, and helped with the recapturing of the escaped Ethiopians,” he said.