A Nyeri court has allowed police to deport 39 Ethiopians arrested in Kiganjo and Karatina towns and who had illegal travel documents.
Nyeri County Police Commander Ali Nuno Wednesday appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Philip Mutua where he said the government had overturned a decision to detain the illegal immigrants and had opted to repatriate them.
Mr Nuno urged the court to withdraw an order issued by the magistrate on Tuesday allowing the confinement of the immigrants pending investigations on how they entered the country.
He explained that it had been established there was a systematic failure by either police or Immigration Department officers at the Moyale boarder point.
“We are now investigating how the systematic failure at the border point occurred and made the Ethiopians to enter Kenya. The immigrants had visas but which were issued in a dubious manner and we have decided to have them repatriated as we conduct investigations at the border,” said Mr Nuno.
Police had arrested 41 Ethiopians and one American on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
But Mr Nuno explained that after vetting by a multi-agency team, three were found to have legal travel documents and were subsequently released.
“We established that the American has a duo citizenship while two Ethiopians were in the country legally. One has been doing business around East Africa and the other was in the country for medical attention,” said Mr Nuno.
He said police believe the immigrants were on transit to another country or were in Kenya for dubious reasons.
“Majority of their passports were processed in 2018 and 2019, raising reasonable suspicion of them being in an organised operation,” said Mr Nuno.
He noted that human trafficking involving Ethiopia nationals using Kenya as the transit route has been an issue which has caused a diplomatic row between Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.