Albanian Daily News
New wave of immigrants hits South Italy

Mch 10, 2000

TIRANA - Italian police picked up some 200 illegal immigrants on Wednesday in a "new wave" of migration on to the southeastern Puglia coast, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

It said that according to the police, boats were continuing to arrive from across the Adriatic and it was hard to determine the exact number of immigrants who had arrived.

One of the groups picked up included 39 Iraqi Kurds, 16 of whom were below the age of three.

The Albanian news agency ATA added that six dinghies with around 140 immigrants aboard had also been turned back overnight after being intercepted by a joint Italian-Albanian patrol near the island of Sazani.

Sources close to the Vlora District Police confirmed that only during the last two months have been forced back some 1300 clandestine passengers, let aside 600 others, picked up by Italian police along Puglia shores.

Spokesman of Vlora prefecture police department said the improvement of weather has brought about an increase of clandestine migration towards Italian seashore. The most part of clandestine contingent are reportedly Albanians from the northern part of the country as well foreign nationals, mainly Kurds, Chinese, Afghans.

In Tirana, a blitz police operation on Wednesday has halted some 30 Albanian illegal emigrants who had been previously turned back from immigration offices in foreign airports as they were travelling with forged documents.

Police questioning has revealed that the most of them have paid each a considerable amount of money to get forged entry visas for other countries.

A woman was quoted as saying that she had paid $7,000 just to be able to get into Britain.

Rinas airport authorities have recently been targeted for corruption, enabling Albanian citizens to get across airport check points without proper papers. Prosecutor’s Office is reported to have initiated a legal action against several suspected officials.

Original article