Nairobi News

LifeNewsWhat's Hot

82 Ethiopians go on hunger strike at Kenyan police station, demand repatriation

By Hilary Kimuyu September 13th, 2023 2 min read

There was drama at Athi River Police Station on September 11, 2023, after a group of Ethiopians in police custody pending repatriation to their country staged a hunger strike.

The Ethiopians have demanded that the Kenyan government fast-track the process of sending them back home.

The group was arrested in Athi River on August 26, 2023, and arraigned at Mavoko Law Court.

The court upheld the prosecution’s request that these individuals be repatriated by September 7, 2023.

The group had been taken into custody after it was discovered loitering in the Magorofani area off Mwananchi Road in Syokimau.

Authorities suspect they were held unlawfully in a residential house whose owner remained unidentified.

The suspects are said to have escaped from the house after they broke the main door and window panes and then ended up loitering in the area before they were arrested.

According to police, on September 11, 2023, the group refused their meals, saying they wanted to be taken back to their country alleging the Kenyan government is taking too long to repatriate them to their country.

Police officers at the station said the group threatened to stop eating until they were repatriated.

The foreigners continued their hunger strike on September 12, 2023, amid calls for their removal from the station to be speed up.

Police added the group looked too weak and vulnerable after the hunger strike and feared the worst.

Among those detained in Athi River were 38 adult males and 33 male juveniles.

Notably, they were not subjected to criminal charges but were regarded as victims of human trafficking.

In recent years, Kenya has witnessed the periodic arrest and deportation of Ethiopian nationals who transit through the country or seek job opportunities within its borders.

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.

They are reported to be lured to leave their country by the quest for employment.

Officials have cited corruption as one of the reasons why human trafficking continues to thrive.

In March 2023, a similar group also staged a hunger strike at a Kiambu police station.

Twenty-one Ethiopians who were arrested for being in the country illegally alleged the Kenyan government was taking too long to repatriate them.

The Ethiopians were arrested on February 17, 2023, in Juja, Kiambu, and taken to court where a court ordered their repatriation.

Police later claimed they had been processing the planned repatriation.

The group started their hunger strike on March 2, 2023, after they refused to take their meals.

The group was being held at Juja Police Station, where they were taken there by officers from DCI’s Transnational Organized Crime Unit pending further arraignment and repatriation.

Also read: Full list of suspects arrested by police in Sh1 billion fake gold deal

All about the Sh 230k shirt Siaya Governor James Orengo wore to son’s wedding