Muscat: Oman on Monday expelled 353 expatriates for entering the country illegally as authorities continued their crackdown against illegal residents, who are often blamed for the increasing crime rate as promoting drugs in the Sultanate.
The 353 – all Asian nationals – were deported by sea route from Sultan Qaboos Port. “All the necessary legal steps were taken, including coordination with the concerned embassies before the illegal residents were deported,” a spokesman for the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said.
He also revealed that all the 353 were caught while trying to enter Oman illegally through the country’s long coastline.
Oman has had to deal with human traffickers exploiting the long coastline of about 1,600 kilometres. For over one and half decade, the police in Oman has been dealing with infiltrators trying to enter the country along the northern coast.
This year so far, Oman has deported more than 8,000 infiltrators, mostly by sea route.
The ROP spokesman added that the police have taken stringent measures in recent times to combat the menace of infiltrators. “We have been monitoring possible areas where infiltrators or overstayers could be taking shelter,” he said, adding that with the help of Attorney-General’s office as well as the Manpower Ministry, the ROP carries out regular raids to nab these illegal residents.
“Special teams have been formed to tackle the human traffickers along the coast and they have been equipped with modern gadgets and speed boats,” he said.
He also pointed out that the police was also cracking down on people who are helping infiltrators enter Oman and then shelter them.
Off shore, he pointed out, that the Coast Guards from ROP take assistance from the Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Navy of Oman to pursue human traffickers trying to send infiltrators to Oman.
“The infiltrators pose social as well as economic risk to the country,” he reckons. The ROP spokesman said that in the recent past infiltrators have been involved in a large number of theft, drug trafficking and other criminal cases in the country.
He assured that infiltrators are treated well after being apprehended. “We respect their dignity and human rights,” he stressed, adding that those arrested for illegal stay are kept in shelters that meet international standards of living conditions and food hygiene.
The human traffickers manipulate needs of gullible poor people and smuggle them, most times in inhuman conditions, and drop them off along the long coastline of Oman. They are then taken into small boats along the northern coast of Oman.
The police said that after struggling to find some work, these infiltrators indulge in criminal activities to earn money. The police also accuse these infiltrators for spreading the drug use in the country as they smuggle narcotics while entering the country illegally.