QCOSTARICA – The 220 African nationals rounded up by immigration officials, illegal in Costa Rica, in the area of Peñas Blancas (border with Nicaragua), were returned to the Paso Canoas border with Panama, only to find that country won’t allow their entry, while Costa Rica maintains its position not to allow them on Tico soil.
The illegals were returned to Panama, many telling Costa Rica officials the Panamanians had let them through their territory to Costa Rica, to reach Nicaragua, on their way north to the United States, through Central America.
Carlos Hidalgo, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Security (MSP), confirmed that yesterday, around 10:00pm, the African migrants were transferred on official buses, arriving at the southern border this Friday morning.
Costa Rica officials had intended to hand them over to their Panamanian counterparts. However, once they were all gathered and the apparent denial by Panamanian authorities to enter their country and Costa Rica’s refusal to have them, the migrants are now in nowhere’s land.
Currently, reports from the Paso Canoas is that Costa Rica security forces – officials of the Fuerza Publica (police), Special Intervention Unit, Border Police and Immigration Police, among others – have the border surrounded.
On the other side of the border, Panama is said to have deployed its anti-riot units to also stop the migrants from re-entering their country.
Hidalgo said they do not know the reasons why Panama is denying these people re-entry.
The director of the Panama’s immigration service, Javier Carrillo, says they are not allowing entry to migrants, including women and children, because they have no certainty that they have entered Costa Rican soil through Panama.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Gonzalez, said Gonzalez, “we are in talks with Panama. The situation, which we have spent years denouncing its increase, is very difficult. I can not refer to it in more details at this time.”
According to Prensa in Panama, Costa Rica’s Red Cross has treated a number of African migrants for dehydration and malnutrition.
This new development is in addition to the thousands of Cubans stranded in Panama, which are asking other Central American countries to be allowed to enter to continue their journey to the United States.
Read more Panama news at Today Panama.