Somalis held after secret flight to
By BOB ODALO
and WAWERU MUGO
A plane carrying
illegal Somali immigrants breached Kenya's airspace undetected
and landed at a rural air strip. It then took off, again
undetected, in a major security lapse.
All aircraft entering
the country are supposed to register their presence with
air traffic control and receive permission to fly into Kenyan
However, the plane,
said to have been on private charter from Somalia, landed
without official permission, at 2 pm yesterday on an airstrip
near Masinga Dam, at Yatta, near Machakos, senior police
appeared to have been well coordinated, with the plane being
met by a convoy of four mini-buses and a saloon car, which
ferried the passengers towards Nairobi.
immediately alerted the police who threw a series of road
blocks around the area and stopped one of the buses, seizing
17 passengers. They took them to Masinga police post, where
they were being held last night.
A further four
Somali passengers were arrested later - bringing to 21 the
total believed to have been on the plane - together with
40 other Somali aliens and seven Kenyans, held on suspicion
of having helped them to gain entry to the country.
Among the Kenyans
was a mini-bus driver, his conductor and two agents of the
refugees who were not carrying identity papers.
Of the 40 Somalis
arrested later, 14 were caught on a bus full of Sudanese
refugees who were being taken from Dadaab refugee camp in
Garissa to Nairobi for treatment.
They were under
the charge of an official of the United Nations High Commission
for Refugees, Mr Gilbert Ng'etich. He was ordered to go
to the Yatta police post where it was discovered that the
14 had boarded the vehicle illegally and without identification
The UN officials
all absolved themselves from blame and told the police to
interrogate the bus driver and his conductor who allowed
them onto the bus.
The driver, Mr.
Silas Musyoka, his conductor Mr Ibrahim Kuso and the bus
manager, Mr Abdi Isaac, were held for questioning. The 14
Somalis were then arrested and detained at Matuu police
post while the rest of the refugees who had official papers
were allowed to continue to Nairobi under police escort.
Police said no
firearms were found either with the Somalis who arrived
by plane or those on the bus full of refugees.
arrests, Machakos police boss Julius Narangwi said all the
aliens were likely to be charged with being in the country