NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Forty-six Ethiopians suspected of being in the country illegally were arraigned in court on Monday.
Twenty-eight of them were taken before Principal Magistrate Eunice Nyutu at the Makadara Law Courts after being held at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium.
They were taken into custody in the ongoing security sweep dubbed Usalama Watch operation after being found not to be Kenyan citizens.
But the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told the court that some of them were legally in the country as refugees.
“As the Court has heard, some of them have documents hence the reason I was making the application to have the pleas differed as those who have valid documents are in the country legally as refugees,” UNHCR Representative Bemih Kanyonge told the court.
Nyutu however entered pleas of, “not guilty for each one of them,” but directed the OCS Kasarani to allow the UNHCR transport the suspects to their offices to establish who among the 28 were properly registered as refugees before their return to court on Wednesday.
She also ordered that the 28 be remanded at the Industrial Area Remand Prison after Kanyonge opposed their return to Kasarani.
“It’s proven a bit hard to access Kasarani. Is it possible for them to be remanded somewhere else? It’s quite a hassle trying to see any clients,” he told the court.
Nyutu however made it clear that they would not be returned to Kasarani as the suspects had already been arraigned in court.
“They have already appeared in court so they are now guest of the court,” she told Kanyonge.
Eighteen other Ethiopians were arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts on Monday again on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
They were arrested in Loitokitok on Friday together with the driver and conductor of a Public Service Vehicle that is believed to have been ferrying them across the border to Tanzania.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo had on Sunday stated that they would arraign 200 illegal immigrants and Kenyans arrested in the Usalama Watch sweep on Monday morning.
He was speaking at the African Inland Church (AIC) in Milimani where he was installed as Chairman replacing Retired General Lazarus Sumbeiywo.