By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) apprehended 40 Haitian migrants after discovering a sloop near Little Inagua on Tuesday morning.
In a statement yesterday, the RBDF indicated that officers onboard HMBS Durward Knowles, acting on information received, located and apprehended a 35-ft Haitian sloop off the southern coast of Little Inagua.
A subsequent statement from the Department of Immigration noted officials were told a vessel had ran aground near Little Inagua with possible people on board. Officials also noted that a further search of the island and surrounding area led to the apprehension of the migrants — 32 males, seven females and one minor — all of whom appeared to be in good health.
The migrants were taken into custody and transported to Mathew Town, Inagua where they were turned over to Department of Immigration officials for further processing.
With this latest apprehension, over 300 Haitian migrants have been apprehended by the RBDF across several separate incidents, according to the force’s records.
To close out last year, the RBDF apprehended 124 Haitian migrants after a 40-ft sloop was discovered roughly eight miles south of New Providence. Just days later, the RBDF opened 2019 with the apprehension of 54 Haitian migrants after stopping and searching a conventional sailing yacht near the entrance of Man O War Cay, Marsh Harbour, Abaco on January 3.
Those apprehension were followed by a third incident where 108 Haitian migrants were found on Saturday, January 5, and another 64 in the Exuma chain on Saturday, February 16.
These numbers do not reflect apprehensions by other law enforcement agencies this year.
Conversely, the Department of Immigration has processed, prosecuted and deported of hundreds of Haitian nationals in recent months.