Kenya police at the western border town of Busia have arrested 53 suspected illegal immigrants who sneaked into the country from Uganda.
The group — comprising men, women and children — was nabbed at Bumala town about 21km from the Busia border while on their way to Nairobi by bus.
The arrest comes hours amid reports that Ugandan soldiers detained three Kenyan police officers near Mageta and Hama Islands in Lake Victoria on Monday.
Area police boss Wambua Katiithi said most of the suspects did not have identification documents when they were arrested except a few who had forged temporary entry permits.
Police said most of them spoke Luganda, the language of the Baganda people.
“We managed to net them following concerted efforts between police and the Immigration Department. Our target was those who didn’t have required travel documents such as passports and yellow fever certificates,” said Mr Katiithi.
The arrested foreigners will be arraigned and charged with being in the country illegally.
“There has been a syndicate of individuals who lure them into the with job offers at a fee,” said Mr Katiithi.
Recently, the government has intensified crackdown on foreigners working illegally in Kenya following a directive from Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.
Human trafficking and smuggling of goods on the Kenya-Uganda border has forced the government to invest heavily in border surveillance.
The Children's Department in the region has raised alarm over rise in trafficking of minors on the border.
Busia County Children’s Services coordinator Esther Wasige said there are at least four cases of child trafficking on the border every week.
On Monday, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said better policies will help protect children from human traffickers.
“We will work closely with other stakeholders including the county assembly to formulate policies that will assist in ending this vice. We will also sensitize the public through village administrators," Mr Ojaamong said.
The devolved unit in partnership with African Network for Prevention and Protection of Children Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) is exploring using alternative family care programs such as foster placement, kinship care and guardianship for vulnerable children.