Authorities in Laikipia County over the weekend arrested 24 Eritrean nationals who were in the country illegally and were travelling to Nairobi.
The illegal aliens who included both men and women and some minors were intercepted while travelling in a Toyota Landcruiser pick up near Loisaba conservancy in Ewaso area following a tip-off to security agents by members of the public on Saturday evening.
Laikipia County Commissioner (CC) Joseph Kanyiri said that the aliens were arrested by the area chief after he was informed about strangers in the area who could hardly speak local languages and seemed to have lost direction of their intended destination.
“The aliens were using panya routes to escape police road checks on major highways but swift action by members of the public who noticed they were strangers helped in nabbing them,” Kanyiri said.
Speaking in Nanyuki on Monday Kanyiri said that the 24 aliens and a Kenyan national who was driving the vehicle ferrying them were immediately transported to Nairobi for further interrogation as investigations into human trafficking commenced.
“We expect them to be processed for appearance in court anytime even as we heighten surveillance on human trafficking since from the look of things, the aliens had traversed several counties before reaching Laikipia,” Kanyiri said.
He added that police officers had been instructed to be on the lookout and intercept any vehicle suspected to be ferrying aliens or illegal substances from outside Kenya borders.
“Apart from illegal aliens, we have also witnessed cases of hard drugs ferried from neighbouring countries into Kenya and that’s why police officers have been urged to be very diligent when dealing with traffickers,” the adminisrator added.
The CC also called on public service vehicle operators to be on the lookout for “strange passengers” boarding their vehicles and report immediately to authorities and also car hire companies to be vigilant on those hiring vehicles since the same could be used for unlawful activities.
The arrest of the illegal aliens comes two months after eight others believed to be Ethiopians were arrested on the Nanyuki-Meru highway at Katheri trading centre on the outskirts of Nanyuki town by detectives while travelling to Nairobi.