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Eritrean found with 80 passports at Entebbe Airport

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Friday, 16 June 2023

Eritrean found with 80 passports at Entebbe Airport

 June 16, 2023 

An Eritrean national Ali Hassan Hida has been arrested by the Aviation Police (Avipol) with over 80 Eritrean passports.

Hida was apprehended by the Avipol and immigration team at Entebbe airport two days ago after failing to provide a plausible explanation about the owners of the passports. 

According to Simon Peter Mundeyi, the Internal Affairs ministry spokesperson, Hida was entering Uganda via Entebbe airport with a heavy bag containing the passports. Thereafter, security officials initiated an investigation to determine whether the owners of the passports are already residing in Uganda or if they intended to use Entebbe as a transit point.

Authorities have noted that there have been numerous instances of Eritreans living in Uganda utilizing Entebbe airport as a gateway to other countries. Many of these Eritreans initially arrived in Uganda as refugees but have subsequently found ways to migrate to Europe, particularly Norway, where they seek and obtain refugee status and eventually become citizens. 

It is not only Eritreans who have been implicated in using Entebbe airport for transit purposes. There have been several cases involving Ethiopians who have been apprehended with Ethiopian passports at the airport, often without a clear destination or purpose for their travel.

Additionally, there have been instances where foreigners have forged or fraudulently acquired Ugandan passports. One recent incident involved the arrest of Gadiel Ishime, a 29-year-old male music artist from Burundi. Ishime initially entered Uganda in August 2015 using a Burundian passport but later fraudulently acquired a Ugandan national identity card by falsely declaring himself as a Munyankole from Kiruhura district. 

Ishime was apprehended at Busia border post while attempting to travel to Germany using a Ugandan passport. Another case involved Joshua David Saunders, a 27-year-old Nigerian male involved in the computer industry. Saunders, who frequently visited Uganda as a tourist, managed to fraudulently acquire a Ugandan national ID and passport. 

During his arrest, it was revealed that he had presented Gibson Sseruwagi as a relative during the passport acquisition process, leading to Sseruwagi's arrest as well. Similarly, a Rwandan national, Sam Kaliisa, 29, was apprehended for impersonating someone named Shafiq and using their details to acquire a Ugandan national ID and passport. 

Mundeyi issued a stern warning to Ugandans involved in assisting foreigners in obtaining national IDs and passports, emphasizing that they would face arrest and prosecution. The immigration department also cautioned individuals against attempting to manipulate the system, assuring the public that their systems are robust and anyone attempting to deceive them would be apprehended. 

ERi-TV, Eritrea - ጸብጻብ ዑደት ፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ ኣብ ዋዕላ ደቡብ ኮርያ አፍሪቃ | Reportage on President Isaias Afwerki's visit to South Korea for the South Korea-Africa Summit, held from June 3-4

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