Thursday, March 29, 2012

95 illegal Ethiopian immigrants arrested and will serve 6 months jail term

Ninety-five Ethiopians were arrested on Wednesday morning near the Namanga border as they tried to cross to neighbouring Tanzania.

The middle-aged men were in a lorry, which they had abandoned in favour of walking as they tried to escape detection by border officials.

When questioned by police, they revealed they were headed to South Africa for ‘greener pastures’.

Kajiado deputy OCPD David Mburugua said the men were nabbed by police and Kenya Wildlife Service officials on patrol at the Amboseli National Park.

"They wanted to use a different route through the park into Tanzania when they were arrested. They do not have documents to legalise their presence in Kenya," said Mburugua.

Two of the foreigners escaped on foot as police approached them in the 2am incident. The rest were later driven to Kajiado where they were expected to face charges of being in the country illegally.

Police and immigration officials have decried increased cases in which Ethiopian nationals are nabbed in the country while on transit to either Tanzania or South Africa.


Most of them are brought to the country by merchants at a fee. Police often face difficulties in dealing with the foreigners because they cannot speak in Swahili and English.

In February, police in Taveta arrested 17 Ethiopians for being in the country illegally. Witnesses said the foreigners had been driven through illegal routes outside Taveta town at night to evade police arrest.

In January 26, more Ethiopians were arrested in Mariakani inside a container on a truck as they were being transported. What has puzzled police is that some of the foreigners are found in possession of Kenya national identity cards.

Police in Nairobi said on Wednesday that they had instructed commanders in the field to ensure the trade was stopped and foreigners returned to their country.