Authorities in the west African state of Guinea-Bissau last month intercepted 109 Pakistani would-be clandestine immigrants preparing to leave for Europe and arrested four smugglers, two of them Indian, a government official said.
The Pakistanis were arrested and had their identity and travel documents seized during an operation jointly undertaken by the Guinea-Bissau military and immigration officers, the secretary of state for public order Mamadu Saico Djalo told a news conference.
Since early September, Pakistanis have been flying in small groups into the former Portuguese colony situated south of Senegal, where another group of Pakistanis on their way to the Spanish Canary Islands was arrested last month.
Falsely declaring to immigration officials that they were in transit, they have been found days later staying in the capital city's poverty-stricken neighbourhoods.
Two of the smugglers are Indian while the other two are Guineans.
The traffickers belonged to a network aware of the country's weak resources to cope with the problem, and who sought to "take advantage of this situation to use our country as a transit point for drugs and clandestines to Europe," he said.
The arrest of the group marked the first time Asian clandestine migrants have been intercepted in Guinea-Bissau.