Kenya police arrest 53 Ethiopian migrants

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Addis Ababa, 19 October 2013 (WIC) - Police officials in Samburu county, northern Kenya, have taken 53 undocumented immigrants and 2 traffickers from Ethiopia into custody.

According to the Star newspaper, the group were on their way to Nairobi when Police officers intercepted them. Officials say their origin is not in question although they had no Ethiopian identity cards because they speak fluent Amharic.

The suspects, who were travelling to seek jobs in Nairobi, allege they were being led on their exodus by paid traffickers who bolted at the sight of Kenyan Police officers.

Samburu Police chief, Mr Samuel Muthamia, says the suspects, who are all in their 20′s, will be eventually brought before a Judge where they’ll face charges for illegally entering Kenya.

The Police chief explained that the influx of illegal immigrants through the Kenya-Ethiopia boarder has led to the erection of several police posts across the area to intercept travellers. He called on the Kenyan government to implement stricter punishments for human trafficking facilitators.

Human trafficking has been on the rise in Ethiopia and other east African nations for sometime now. This has aided the development of gangs of professional traffickers known as ‘broker’, who extort fees from their clients to guide them into other countries illegally.

In the past few years, Kenyan officials have arrested hundreds of Ethiopian illegal immigrants. Only two months ago, police officials from east and south Africa, working with INTERPOL, conducted a major operation on cross border crimes including human trafficking. Over 328 victims and 53 traffickers were rounded up at the end of the operation.

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, with about 50% of its population below 18.  Despite having the second fastest growing economy in east Africa for some years now, human trafficking in Ethiopia has not abated. Several groups have called on the Ethiopian government to amend Articles 596, 597 and 638 of the country’s constitution to enable the courts and security officials bring the trafficking menace under control.

In March, the Ethiopian government entered into an agreement with the International Organization for Migration. This two-year project is expected to improve the east African nation’s ability to deal with human trafficking.

Ethiopian refugees abroad are known to be deprived, tortured and forced into labour by the ‘brokers’ they get into contract with to facilitate their exodus. (http://www.zegabi.com)

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