22 Ethiopians intercepted on Thika Road for being in the country illegally

Police intercepted 22 Ethiopian nationals while being smuggled through Nairobi.

The victims were intercepted by officers from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit as they were being driven in two four-wheel drive cars.

Two prime human smugglers were also arrested in the operation along Thika Road on Wednesday afternoon.

The aliens told police they were headed for South Africa for greener pastures and that they had paid to be transported through Moyale border to Tanzania where they would connect to South Africa.

According to police, of the victims, 17 were female and those arrested for being behind the smuggling were all Kenyans identified as Muhsan Shariff Abdikadir aged 51 years and his driver Muhamed Doyo aged 25 years.

It is not clear how much each victim pays to be smuggled through Kenya.

This is the latest seizure of the immigrants who are being smuggled through the country. Last month, 24 immigrants were arrested for being in the country illegally in Merti, Isiolo County.

Police said the 18 Ethiopians and six Eritreans were arrested from a bush in an operation by a team of detectives.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said the trend is worrying as the number of those being caught is on the rise.

“This is big business for smugglers or traffickers and must be stopped as it is illegal,” said Kinoti.

Officials from the Transnational Organized Crime are conducting joint operations to deal with the issue of human smuggling.

Tens of Ethiopians are annually arrested in Kenya while on transit and later deported. Most of those arrested come to Kenya to seek for jobs or are on transit.

What is puzzling is how the immigrants manage to evade many police roadblocks mounted from Moyale border where they use to Nairobi. There are more than 20 roadblocks on the stretch, which raises the seriousness of the security agents to tame the practice.

Some officials say the crime happens out of collusion between security agencies and the smugglers.

Police and immigration officials face difficulties in dealing with the aliens because they cannot speak in Swahili and English.

Cases of human smuggling have been on the rise in the region with hundreds of young men and women from Ethiopia finding their way into South Africa through Kenya in search of employment.

Last month, police rescued nine male victims of human smuggling from a house in Kasarani area. The Ethiopian nationals aged between 20 and 36 told police they were headed for South Africa for jobs.

A Kenyan who was hosting them was arrested.

On March 30, police rescued eight Eritreans while being smuggled through Kenya to Asia.

The victims aged between 17 and 31 are believed to be victims of human trafficking, police said.

This came two days after another suspected human trafficking ring was busted in Ruiru, Kiambu County.

At least 25 Burundians were rescued and three Kenyan women arrested. The victims aged between 24 to 33 years were apparently held hostage pending transit to Asian countries including Thailand.