Wajir, Kenya: Three Ethiopians were killed in a gun ambush Saturday evening while 52 others escaped death by a whisker after being rescued by police.
The illegal aliens, who were been trafficked from Ethiopia’s region five came under heavy gun attack from unknown armed people along Wajir-Moyale road near Wajir town, according to Wajir County Commissioner Naftali Mungathia.
“These people were being transported in an open land cruiser. They were packed on top of each other like sardines by human traffickers, who took from them hefty money as charges to smuggle them illegally into the country,” Mungathia said, while speaking to The Standard in Wajir.
The county commissioner said the identity bandits who attacked the vehicle ferrying the foreigners couldn’t not be immediately established adding that among those arrested were three Kenyans who were smuggling the Ethiopians into the country.
However, a security source who sought anonymity said the attackers could be either of the two militias from clans fighting in the county who might have mistaken those being carried in vehicle as from members of their rival clan.
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Another source within the smuggling conduits in Moyale town, however, suspects the hand of jilted smugglers in the ambush noting that recently there was some rift between established human traffickers in the area and new entrants from other regions.
Mungathia said, “The other aliens were very lucky; despite the intensity of the attack, none of them were hurt in the unfortunate incident apart from those killed. We have sent enough security personnel to pursue the assailants in area around where the attacks happened.”
He said, the aliens were now held at Wajir police station for interrogation and could appear before the Wajir senior resident magistrate to answers charges of unlawfully been present in the country.
“The three Kenyans smugglers will possibly face a double charge of aiding foreigners to get entrance to the country illegally,” he explained.
Despite the fact that security agents in major towns are engaging in mass detention and deportation of those staying in the country illegally, hundreds of aliens are smuggled into the country through the porous border in the North daily.
“Human trafficking is a serious issue here. Hardly a week passes without our security officers nabbing aliens who have been smuggled into the country mainly from Ethiopia,” the county boss noted.
“Smugglers at many times attempts to pass through our county. Many times they are apprehended by our security agents, but in some rare cases they escape our security dragnet,” he said.