Police in Isiolo are holding 70 foreigners who were arrested in Merti and Garbatulla areas in the past three days for being in the country illegally.
Authorities also seized 12 boda-boda riders who police say are accomplices in the human trafficking business.
Police officers acting on a tip-off from the public pounced on them at Biliqo area in Merti on Saturday night.
Some 13 motorcycles were seized during the raid. One boda-boda rider escaped, police said.
“The suspects are detained at Merti Police Station and will be arraigned on Wednesday,” said Merti Deputy County Commissioner Salim Bagana.
Human trafficking has in the recent past declined on the Isiolo-Moyale stretch with the traffickers now using off the highway routes, including the Yamicha-Dogogicha road, to evade police.
The traffickers have been ferrying the immigrants to Merti where they are then picked up by boda-boda riders and transported to Isiolo town and then Nairobi.
The police post in Yamicha area is understaffed and has no vehicle, thus limiting the officers’ efforts to hunt down the traffickers.
“We would appreciate if more officers are deployed to the area and the police post given a vehicle to ease the challenges,” Mr Bagana said.
County Commissioner Herman Shambi warned local residents abetting the crime that their days are numbered.
He appealed to the Judiciary to give harsh sentences to the illegal immigrants arguing that they were a burden to the economy and posed a health risk to the local residents in the wake of Covid-19.
“We incur a lot of expenses feeding them and repatriating them back to their country. They are also posing health threats to our people,” said Mr Shambi, adding that an Ethiopian national who was jailed recently tested positive for Covid-19.
The accomplices risk having their vehicles and motorbikes forfeited to the State in efforts to discourage the vice, he said.
He appealed to residents to volunteer information to police on visitors in their neighbourhood for immediate legal action.
“The Kulamawe accomplices who were with the immigrants are also being pursued,” he said.