Kenya: Ethiopians arrested in Makueni to plead Wednesday

Sixty Ethiopians who were arrested at Daraja Mbili, a roadside market near Kiboko township along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, will remain in detention until Wednesday, when they will be charged with being in the area. country illegally, a court in Makindu said.

“The 60 suspects will plead Wednesday when the court finds an interpreter,” Makindu chief magistrate Jared Magori said on Monday.

At the same time, he freed eight of the suspects who had been brought to justice and who were arrested on Saturday in villages around the town of Kiboko.

They had jumped from a truck transporting them to Mombasa as the driver, Martin Ndunda, was partying with two unidentified men at a popular bar in Daraja Mbili commune.

Police have placed Mr. Ndunda at the center of a tight-knit human trafficking network involving dozens of Ethiopian men and obscure figures.

Mr. Ndunda was remanded in custody after failing to post a bond of 500,000 shillings that the court imposed on him on Friday to guarantee his freedom.

Out of the truck

“We saw with amazement dozens of men exit the tarpaulin trailer of Mr. Ndunda’s truck intended to transport raw materials to make cement after cutting the tarpaulin. A wooded section behind the market swallowed the young men, sparking real fears that we had been surrounded by the formidable Al-Shabaab militia based in Somalia. Despite this, some daring traders launched a chase, caught up with some of the foreigners and took them to the market where a crowd gathered. Our attempt to question them was unsuccessful, as the young men could not speak Kamba, Swahili or English, ”Francisca Kyengo, a trader in the Daraja Mbili market, told Nation. witnessed the drama.

“Although the young men looked frail, we were afraid they would explode on us. We served them water, chapati, beef stew and vegetables from a safe distance after our fears subsided. The police who had already heard of the foreigners had rushed into action, ”Ms. Kyengo added.

Ethiopians were tested for Covid-19 at the Makindu courthouse before being taken into custody.

In court, they could not plead because they spoke neither English nor Swahili.

Mr Magori said the court was making arrangements to provide an accredited interpreter on Wednesday.

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