More people caught trying to enter Oman illegally
By staff - Sat May 19, 6:04 pm
Muscat: There has been an almost 27 per cent increase in infiltrators caught by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Coast Guard in the first quarter of this year, according to Colonel Badr Bin Khalfan Al Zedjali, Commander of the Coast Guard.
“During the first quarter of this year we have rounded up 213 infiltrators compared to 64 arrested in the same period last year,” he said in a statement released by the ROP’s Public Relations Department Saturday.
However, he added that only 20 boats, used by human traffickers, were seized this year so far against 64 in the first quarter last year.
Oman’s long coastline is exploited by human traffickers for almost a decade now. People, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, are smuggled in boats from across Iran’s Bander Abbas with a promise of employment in the Gulf region.
Al Zadjali praised citizens’ co-operation with the Coast Guard in reporting infiltration attempts. “We would urge citizens to report any suspicious movement of vessels or people trying to enter the country through the coasts,” he said, adding that residents can call the emergency number (9999) or call the Coast Guard on 24714888.
He said the Operations Department at the Coast Guard has mechanisms for dealing with the reports and tip-offs they receive from citizens. This department is specialised in the Coast Guard patrols, the implementation of operations as well as the co-ordination between the Coast Guard headquarters and the operation boats.
He also said that the Coast Guard was working hard to counter drug smuggling. “We carry out search operations on suspicious boats which enter the Omani territorial waters to cut short attempts to smuggle drugs into Oman,” he pointed out.
This year 134 marine accidents have been reported compared with 110 in the same period last year, he said.