Twenty-two illegal immigrants of Ethiopian origin were today arraigned before a Maralal court charged with being in the country illegally.
The accused persons, 14 women and eight men pleaded guilty to the charge when they appeared before Maralal Senior Principal Magistrate John Tamar.
According to the prosecution, the 22 accused were arrested by police officers along the Opiroi- Barsaloi road on July 6 ,2021 while aboard a green Toyota land cruiser registration number KCU 595 H.
The court further heard that officers from the National Intelligence Service received a report that there were foreigners travelling through Samburu County and together with regular police they laid an ambush at Opiroi area intercepting the vehicle which was being driven by a Kenyan citizen Omar Mohamed.
“Upon inspection the police found 22 occupants who didn’t possess any documentation and it emerged they were foreigners. They were arrested and charged,” the prosecution told the court.
However, through a Tigrin language translator, the accused persons told the court that they were fleeing violence in their country and that they were headed to Nairobi to seek refugee status.
The court ruled that the office of the refugee affairs secretariat in upper hill Nairobi to conduct an assessment on each of the accused and determine suitability for consideration and registration as refugees.
The mention of the case was set for July15, 2021 pending the report of the office of refugee affairs.
The driver Omar Mohamed was charged with human smuggling a charge he pleaded not guilty before the same court and was released on a cash bail of Sh100,000.
By Robert Githu