By ALI ABDI
Administration Police officers in Merti District have arrested 55 Ethiopian immigrants who were being transported in a vehicle to an unknown destination.
The Ethiopians and the vehicle’s Kenyan driver and conductor were arrested at Kom on Wednesday at around 11pm. They were detained at the AP camp before they were transferred to Isiolo Thursday morning.
Regional Commissioner for Upper Eastern Isaiah Nakoru said Thursday those arrested were 18 women, seven children and 30 men, adding that initial investigation showed they were picked from the border town of Moyale by Kenyans.
“The foreigners will be charged with being in the country illegally while the two Kenyans have to answer many questions before charges are preferred against them. They could be charged with human trafficking,’’ said Nakoru in his Isiolo office. The administrator said they want to establish from the driver why he was carrying 55 people in a vehicle that at best should carry 12 to 15 people and why he avoided the Isiolo-Moyale highway and instead used illegal routes to reach Isiolo via Merti.
The administration, he added, also wants to establish the owner of the vehicle and his ties with the Ethiopians. Hundreds of Ethiopians pass through Isiolo every month on their way to Nairobi from where they are helped by Kenyans involved in human trafficking to reach South Africa.
“We have instructed the police to impound the vehicle until the owner turns up. We are also interested to find out why his vehicle does this kind of illegal activity,’’ said Nakoru.
Junior officers in Isiolo lamented that when they arrest illegal immigrants and the drivers, their seniors usually release them after they are bribed.
Source: The Standard