Kenyan police round up 60 illegal Ethiopian immigrants in security swoop
by Chris Mgidu
NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Kenyan security officers on Wednesday arrested 60 Ethiopian immigrants from a residential estate in Nairobi.
Nairobi County police commander Japheth Koome said they had arrived in the city on Sunday and were found hiding in a house at Mihang’o area in Kayole, east of capital city.
Koome said the Ethiopians were being fed with bread and shared toilets that threatened their health, noting that investigation is underway to establish how the suspects reached the area.
“The Ethiopians don’t have the prerequisite papers to warrant their stay here. They are illegal immigrants and would face the law,” said Koome.
The police have on several occasions rounded up dozens of illegal immigrants especially from Ethiopia, who have been discovered locked up in congested rooms in Kenyan towns and cities.
The immigrants are said to be using Kenya as their transit route to other countries such as South Africa or other European countries.
Koome said a smuggler behind their stay in the area was also arrested and they would be charged in court soon. The suspects who cannot speak English or Swahili had rented the house and stayed there waiting to move out to South Africa.
The security officers are looking for another smuggler behind the syndicate and that those arrested are to be deported to their country after court processes.
The area where they were hidden is sprawling and the smugglers chose it to avoid police and immigration officials’ suspicion.
The latest arrest comes after the police last week arrested 13 other Ethiopians from a house in Nairobi. They are facing charges in court.
The Kenyan authorities have blamed the vastness of the region for the runaway influx of foreigners into Kenya through Moyale on Kenya-Ethiopia borders and the porous border with Somalia.
Refugee rights organizations and aid agencies have blamed poverty in Africa for the rising cases of human trafficking.
They said that the huge supply of labour both skilled and unskilled makes them vulnerable to criminal syndicates.