Police in Nyeri have been given a go-ahead by court to deport 39 immigrants of Ethiopian origin arrested two days ago within Karatina and Kiganjo towns with illegal travel documents.
When the immigrants appeared before court, the police requested the court to detain them for a week pending investigations on how they entered into the country with illegal travel documents.
However, Nyeri County Police Commander, Ali Nuno, while appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate, Philip Mutua, said the government had overturned the decision to detain and charge them with being in the country illegally.
He said the government had instead opted to have them repatriated to their country as he asked the court to review the earlier order of confining them with a view to charging them at a later date.
Nuno told the court that it had been established that there was a systematic failure by either the police or Immigration Department officers at the Moyale border point that made it easy for them to enter into the country.
“We are investigating how the Ethiopians found their way into the country at the border point,” said the police boss adding that they had visas which were issued in a dubious manner.
“We have decided to have them repatriated as we conduct investigations at the border,” said the officer.
The 39 were among 41 individuals arrested on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, but three were released following a vetting exercise by a multi-agency team that established that their travel documents were legal.
He told the court that among the three was an American who had dual citizenship and two Ethiopians who, it was established, were in the country legally.
“One has been doing business around East Africa while the other was in the country for medical reasons,” said Nuno.
He explained that human trafficking involving Ethiopian nationals using Kenya as the transit route has been an issue that has occasioned a diplomatic tiff between Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.
By Samuel Waititu