21 Ethiopians on hunger strike to protest delayed repatriation
Twenty one Ethiopians who were arrested for being in the country illegally have gone on hunger strike causing panic.
The group alleges that the Kenyan government is taking too long to repatriate them to their country.
The Ethiopians were arrested on February 17, 2023, in Juja, Kiambu and taken to court where a court ordered their repatriation. Since then, officials say they have been processing the planned repatriation.
The group started their hunger strike on March 2, 2023, after they refused to take their meals saying the repatriation process had taken too long.
Police at Juja Police Station, where the group is being held, were taken there by officers from DCI’s Transnational Organized Crime Unit pending further arraignment and repatriation.
Police at the station said the foreigners looked too weak and vulnerable following the hunger strike.
Dozens of Ethiopians are arrested in the country as they try to use this route to other places like Tanzania, the Middle East and South Africa.
Last month, 41 Ethiopians were arrested at Baraka estate, Mihango while being smuggled to South Africa. The foreigners were awaiting to be shipped out when the police foiled the move.
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Police who had been tipped off said they also arrested two prime human smugglers. Head of Transnational Organized Crime Unit George Mutonya said the two, a Kenyan and an Ethiopian, have been linked to many other smuggling cases in the country.
In recent years, tens of Ethiopians are arrested annually arrested while being smuggled. Most of those arrested come to Kenya to seek jobs or as a transit point.
Officials have cited corruption as one of the reasons why human trafficking continues to thrive.