Lamu county commissioner cautions residents hiding foreigners illegally

Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri at his office. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri has cautioned residents against harboring foreigners whose intentions in the county are unknown.

Kanyiri said it had come to his attention that some locals were secretly putting up foreigners from Tanga and Pemba in their homes without proper documentation with some even finding jobs for the foreigners in the county.

Speaking in his Lamu office on Monday,the commissioner said six foreigners had already been arrested in a police swoop and were being held in questioning over their motive for being in Lamu.

He said police has also been ordered to conduct searches in homes and business premises and have such foreigners and their helpers arrested and prosecuted.

Kanyiri also said he was aware of fishermen who were secretly bringing in foreigners during their trade on the Indian Ocean and secretly engaging them in their trade.

He said most of the foreigners are from Tanga inTanzania,Pemba in Mozambique and have been living in Lamu illegally.

The commissioner said most of the cases reported cited Lamu and Ndau Island as the leading areas where fishermen and traders were illegally harboring foreigners.

He said the illegal presence of foreigners was detrimental to the security of the county and the nation at large.

“ We are already holding six such foreigners and we intend to find out what they wanted to do here. Residents should do us and the county a favor and stop hiding foreigners in their homes and even finding them jobs. We are closing in and shall have them arrested soon and we mean the foreigners and their hosts,” said Kanyiri.

He also warned officials from the county fisheries office who are reported to have been approving for foreigners to conduct their trade on the Lamu waters without following due diligence.