By MTOKOZISI DUBE
The Botswana Government has arrested 28 terrorism suspects in an operation aimed at cracking down groups suspected of fundraising for Al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant groups.
According to a Botswana weekly,¬†Telegraph, a series of sweeps across Francistown and Dukwi, a refugee camp, netted scores of Somali car dealers and their compatriots suspected to be smuggling operatives.
The paper quotes a source as saying: ‚ÄúThey arrested a majority of them recently in Block One location in Francistown while others were arrested at Dukwi Refugee Camp.‚Äù
Suspicion was that some of the money being collected as ransom by Somali pirates was laundered through a network of Somali-owned used car sellers that were mushrooming in Botswana.
Although the allegations against the 28 suspects could not be established, indications were that some of them were illegal immigrants and a number of them had confessed to having links to terrorist groups.
Botswana‚Äôs security agents are said to have searched a number of garages and were continuing to focus on suspicious properties across the second largest city, Francistown.
‚ÄúThere is a ring of Somali car dealers who traffic their fellowmen into the country illegally from countries as far away as Kenya and Somalia. They then harbour the illegal immigrants and even assist them to open up businesses in the country.
They also assist them to get proper travel documents,‚Äù wrote the¬†Sunday Standard.
The suspects have since been sent to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown.
According to¬†Sunday Standard, DIS boss Isaac Kgosi would not deny or confirm the allegations.