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Kenya Navy team detains 100 suspicious men in deep sea

By Linah Benyawa | December 14th 2015

A Kenya naval patrol team intercepted two boats off Kilifi Coast on Saturday evening and detained 100 suspicious men on board.

The group, which includes Tanzanians and some Kenyans, claim they were fishing but the Navy troops handed them to police for investigations.

Kenyan authorities are holding them in different undisclosed centres in Kilifi and Mombasa and reports indicate a multi-agency task force has been created to probe their mission, alibi and identities.

Monday, a senior police officer claimed the men were being treated as terror suspects as they might have sailed into Kenyan waters from Somalia.

However, no weapons were found on the boats and the names of detainees have not been established.

Police in Mombasa and Kilifi counties say the men were arrested by Navy troops while in the Indian Ocean around Takaungu and Mtwapa townships of Kilifi County at around 3am on Saturday.

It is said majority of them are Tanzanians and police wanted to check if they had documentation from the immigration department to allow them into the Kenyan waters after they claimed to be fishing when they were arrested.

Reports from the police indicated that about 80 were Tanzanians while 26 were Kenyans who claimed they were fishing but police say no fishing gear was found on the boats.

Mombasa County Police Commander Francis Wanjohi said the suspects are yet to be interrogated to establish their identity and why they were in the deep sea that early morning.

Wanjohi said the men looked suspicious and once interrogated, their identity and mission will be known.

"They will be interrogated by officers from different agencies and after the probe and profiling, we will be able to know if they are illegal immigrants, criminals or genuine fishermen," said Leina.

Ole Leina said if they are found to be genuine fishermen, then they would be released.

Early this year, the Kenya Navy impounded an Iranian flagged ship off the Lamu Coast and a search found narcotics on it, leading to the detention of its foreign crew and alleged Kenyan accomplices who are now on trial.

Also this year, police intercepted a Singaporean luxury yacht within Kilifi Creek.

Detectives said the boat had narcotics on board. Its Seychellois captain and other crew were arrested and are now facing charges in Mombasa courts.

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