Scores of Asian illegal immigrants were nabbed in a police operation at the upmarket estate of Louisville in Block 6, Gaborone on Friday as police smoked out human trafficking, pornography, and money laundering rings based at the hard -to-enter estate.
The raid apparently went on for seven hours as police closed the gates and raided every house.While the police have denied it, residents of Louisville Block 6 Estate woke up to a shock when police raided almost all the houses within the Estate.
According to a security officer at Louisville Block 6 Estate, un-uniformed and uniformed police officers arrived at the estate as residents were waking up for daily activities.
“The Police arrived around 6 O’clock in the morning. It looked like they were Gaborone West police. They were accompanied by immigration officers as they went house to house looking for all foreign migrants living in the estate. After a while the residents who are mostly Sri Lankan left with the officials and as they were transported by a government registered bus. It looked like they were heading to Mogoditshane police station,” said the officer.
According to the insider, it is very uncommon for police to carry such operations at the estate.
“We are also surprised. We never thought they will carry an operation here. It is very hard to enter Louisville estate, you need a special pass and a security officer to accompany you,” he said.
Upon arrival at the scene The Monitor found uniformed police officers at the entrance who explained that their seniors left with the said Louisville residents. He could not divulge further information. The Monitor team followed the bus to Mogoditshane Police station where upon arrival we found two busses packed by the entrance, alongside a group of men and women with children who stated that they are foreign nationals from Sri Lanka. One of the nationals, who preferred anonymity, told The Monitor that they were woken up by a group of police officer’s demanding immigration documents.
“I was woken up by a hard knock around 6 am where upon opening found a group of 50 police officers who informed us we were under arrest. Immigration officials demanded that we produce our residence permits, our passports and other documents. It looks like they thought we were illegal immigrants,” he said. Mogoditshane police station commander, Nkwebi Chilisa, however, denied undertaking the raid. “We did not carry any operation but you can contact me around 5pm,” he said.
The matter had already caused confusion on Facebook after a certain Frances Carter, who revealed that he resided at Louisville Estate, posted about the operation on his timeline. He associated the raid to the incidents taking place in South Africa where foreign nationals were attacked.
“I was met by 50 police officers and immigration officials in the morning when I woke up. They asked if I was a Motswana and I told the am an Australian. The response I got was not what I had expected. ‘You are under arrest, we are arresting all foreign nationals residing here. Please collect your documentation and get into the bus, it is waiting at the gate. Once we re happy with you, we will release you’. I have never been under arrest before, not just for being a foreigner! I was eventually allowed to leave when another immigration official not on power trip, realised I was Australian. It seems like the tensions in South Africa are crossing the boarders, the Facebook post read.
Efforts to get response from Gaborone West police station commander were futile as he said he was not at office.