Lisbon airport’s security was back in the spotlight yesterday (Thursday) after five Algerians, all in their 20s, tried to make a break for freedom as they were being taken to board a TAP flight back to North Africa.
Three were caught straight away, but two ‘escaped’ – only to be caught hours later (around half past midnight) at Lisbon’s Estação do Oriente (railway station).
What’s interesting in this story is that no news service is giving any indication whether the men had already purchased train tickets and if so, to what destination.
But what this latest airport break highlights is that entry into the country from one destination in north Africa on a purported ‘round-trip’ to another is now an established route for illegal immigration.
It is not a successful one, because of the multiple attempts so far, only three people out of 16 have got through. But that is still three more illegal immigrants whose intentions now they are in Europe remain unknown.
Portuguese authorities continue to insist the situations are much more ‘bids for European entry’ than any kind of operation to bring over potential terrorists.
For now, all five face deportation back to their home countries.
This latest ‘break’ took place around 4.30pm when the group was being transported to its flight to Algeria.
Airport security noticed the young people as they disembarked from a flight into Lisbon from Casablanca. They were given “special attention”, reports Correio da Manhã, and taken by PSP and SEF agents to their waiting plane when the time for boarding arrived.
It was at the point where the doors of the bus opened that the group chose to make its getaway across the tarmac.
The two who ‘got away’ offered no resistance, said TSF radio, when they were approached by police officers at the railway station.