The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is working to free 438 Ethiopian migrants jailed in Zambia and Zimbabwe prisons.
The migrants were detained while trying to illegally enter South Africa via Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Ministry African Affairs Director Girma Temesgen told ENA that the government is in contact with the two countries to get the prisoners released.
However, the negotiations have become difficult as most of the migrants do not have passports and any kind of travel documents, he indicated.
Girma further stated that those in Zambia were in particular sentenced up to 15 years in accordance with the law of the country.
The government is negotiating with Zambia to either pardon the migrants or hand them over to Ethiopia so that they can serve the remaining sentence in their home country, the director said
According to him, a special mission will soon travel to Zambia to further pursue the matter.
It is to be recalled that half of the 931 Ethiopian migrants jailed in the two countries were returned home in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia and International Organization for Migration.
Ethiopian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mustafa Liq Abdul-Salam said on his part the migrants from Hadiya, Kambata, Hlaba and Arsi zones had each paid 100,000 Birr on average to human traffickers.
The embassy has secured the release of under 18 years migrants following discussions with Zambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At present, there are 137 and 331 Ethiopian migrants under detention in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively.
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