alexa Halt, Kajwang’ told at border - Daily Nation

Halt, Kajwang’ told at border

Thursday July 30 2009

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang' addresses journalists at his office. He was on Thursday barred from accessing an exit point by Sudanese soldiers. PHOTO/MICHAEL MUTE

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang' addresses journalists at his office. He was on Thursday barred from accessing an exit point by Sudanese soldiers. PHOTO/MICHAEL MUTE 

By PETER LEFTIE

The man responsible for regulating Kenya’s border posts was on Thursday barred from accessing an exit point.

Mr Otieno Kajwang’, the Immigration minister, was blocked by Sudanese soldiers manning a roadblock on the Kenyan side of the border.

He was heading to open an immigration office at Nadapal border post when he was turned back at the roadblock mounted by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) just a kilometre from the country’s border with Southern Sudan.

Speaking to the Nation, a furious Kajwang’ narrated how the soldiers denied them access to the border post, saying they were under instructions from their “superiors” not to let them proceed.

“We have been forced to call off our mission,” Mr Kajwang’ said by telephone.

The minister was accompanied by Immigration ministry officials, members of the provincial administration and officers from the Army, General Service Unit (GSU) and regular police.

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A recent Cabinet decision requires that all immigration offices be located at the border. The immigration office is currently located at Lokichoggio township, about 10 kilometres from the border post.

He said that prior to his visit, the local provincial administration had informed the Southern Sudan liaison office based at Lokichoggio of his intended tour.

Mr Kajwang’ also complained about the harassment and intimidation the Kenyan immigration officials were recently subjected to by the Sudanese forces as they went to the border post to assess the ground before relocating the office.

He said that they had been forced to surrender their guns to the SPLA soldiers manning the roadblock before they could be allowed to proceed to the border post.

Mr Kajwang’ also said that three months ago, Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti was also blocked from visiting the border post to assess the security situation. A military commander has also been turned back.