Nine foreigners, including five minors, claiming to be Eritrean nationals, are in the custody of the Department of Immigration for ‘travelling illegally’.
Dipak Kafle, director general of the department, said Srkie Fevben (23, female), Tsehaye Sham (24, male), Bereket Hana (30, female) and Yoseaf Almaz (37, female), Daniel Kebri (2, male), Daniel Noemi (4, female), Tesgay Samson (5, male), Daniel Asenya (6, female) and Daniel Nimrod (8, male) were detained for investigation as they were travelling without necessary documents.
The Eritreans had boarded a Qatar Airlines flight from Tribhuwan International Airport to Sarajevo of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the Bosnian immigration refused them entry and sent them back to Kathmandu on July 5. The same day, the airport immigration office sent them to DoI.
During the interrogation, they claimed they were Eritrean, but migrated to Sudan for employment, according to an official involved in the interrogation. They landed at TIA for the first time from Sudan on June 20, and stayed in Nepal under an on-arrival visa.
However, they do not have passports with them as, according to them, the Bosnian immigration seized their travel documents.
The official said preliminary investigation suggested the Eritreans were seeking to enter Europe via Nepal in search of better opportunities.
“We may deport them to their home country. But since they have entered Nepal without passport they have to face due punishment,” the official said.
The official added that the Bosnian authorities would send their documents at the request of the Nepali authorities. “We’ll take a decision only after we receive their documents,” the official said.
“We’ll also know which country they actually belong to. So far we are calling them Eritrean as per their claim.”
The adults claimed that they worked as drivers in Sudan and were relatives of the kids. They added that parents of the minors were in Sudanese prisons. They said the immigration department had hired a mediator for interrogation due to the language barrier.
“They do not want to be deported to Eritrea, as they say, Sudan is a much better place in terms of employment opportunities,” said the official.
However, as per Nepali law, they will have to be deported to their home country. “Only after we receive their passports shall we know which is their home country,” said the official.
Eritrea is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south and Djibouti in the south-east.