14 Zimbabwean nationals who were removed from the United Kingdom touched down at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare on Thursday.
The 14 were among more than 100 foreign national offenders of Zimbabwean origin who were recently rounded up by British authorities to be deported to Zimbabwe.
The deportees claimed they fled to Britain fearing persecution by the ruling ZANU PF government and the violation of their human rights.
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On arrival, the 14 were immediately whisked away by Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses.
They were accompanied by police, who maintained a heavy presence at the airport alongside other State security agents.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Ndavaningi Mangwana said the 14 were taken to ZIPAM, where they will be in isolation for 10 days before meeting their families. He said:
Fourteen Zimbabweans arrived today. They have been taken to ZIPAM, where they will have COVID-19 tests and be quarantined for 10 days.
After being cleared for COVID-19, they will join their families and communities.
… We welcome these fellow citizens home. They will be safe and the same opportunities availed to everyone else will be available to them.
Meanwhile, British media reported that the deportation comes after the British government reportedly struck a secret deal with Harare last month to extradite hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.
Rosie Huzzard of Walls Must Fall told The Morning Star that Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is leading systemic racism by “deporting 150 black Zimbabweans, many of whom were trade unionists and democracy campaigners”.
However, a Home Office spokesperson said those who were being deported from the UK are criminals.
Foreign criminals who abuse our hospitality should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.
Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity.