FORTY-ONE migrants were apprehended in Andros yesterday after officers launched a manhunt for passengers of a Haitian wooden sloop that landed in the southern part of the island late Tuesday evening. In a statement released yesterday morning, the Immigration Department said they were alerted that a Haitian sloop ran aground in The Bluff area.
The boat reportedly had 50 suspected migrants on board.
Thirty-one men and ten women have been apprehended so far, according to officials.
They will be sent to a holding facility in Inagua for processing.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is conducting aerial surveillance in the meantime and several law enforcement teams are carrying out searches of the surrounding areas along with Department of Immigration officials.
“The public is reminded that harbouring illegal entrants is a criminal offence and we ask that anyone with information that may assist the department in the investigation of this matter to please contact local law enforcement or the department of immigration at (242)604-0172 or (242) 604-0196,” the agency added.
The department also said that it is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the “unlawful entrants” are repatriated as quickly as possible.
This latest apprehension comes after the United States Coast Guard intercepted a vessel with 396 Haitians on board near Cay Sal Bank over the weekend.
The intercepted migrants were turned over to the RBDF and later taken to Inagua for processing.
Their illegal travel to The Bahamas comes as civil unrest and political turmoil continues to mount in Haiti.
Local government officials have already warned that more Haitian migrants could arrive in the country in the days and weeks ahead.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis spoke about the crisis in Haiti, saying it poses a substantial threat to The Bahamas and neighbouring countries due to an increase in irregular migration.
He told a summit in Argentina that with the support and leadership of Haiti, regional counterparts can help Haitians build a path out of the crisis.
“The crisis in Haiti is getting worse,” Mr Davis said at the heads of summit meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
“The tragic situation there continues to pose a substantial threat, not only to Haitians, but also to The Bahamas and neighbouring countries, all of whom are experiencing a significant increase in irregular and often dangerous migration.
“With the support and leadership of Haiti, collectively, we can, through CELAC and other regional organisations, help Haitians build a path out of crisis.”
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