What you need to know:
- Mombasa residents were shocked to see at least 40 white tourists begging along the streets of Old town.
- Mvita Sub-county Police Commander Mr Maxwell Agoro who confirmed the arrest of the tourists said the foreigners had valid tourist visas.
- The police boss said their only undoing was to convert into beggars, which contravenes the terms of their travel documents.
Security agents in Mombasa county are holding 40 Jordanian nationals after they were found begging in Mombasa streets in what is suspected to be a foiled human trafficking case.
Mombasa residents were on Thursday shocked to see at least the 40 tourists begging along the streets of Old town to raise money for food and transport to allegedly travel to Nairobi.
In a rare occurrence, the tourists-turned beggars from the Jordanian nationals were spotted at the Marikiti market seeking help as they had run out of money to buy food and relocate to Nairobi.
“They were asking for our help to raise money. We were surprised because we have never seen this before,” said Mohamed Hamisi, an Old Town resident.
According to Mr Hamisi, it was a strange experience for the locals to encounter a situation where tourists who the Coast city depends on to raise revenue to turn into beggars, with nowhere to go.
Mvita Sub-county Police Commander Mr Maxwell Agoro who confirmed the arrest of the tourists said the foreigners had valid tourist visas but their only undoing was to convert into beggars, which contravenes the terms of their travel documents.
The foreigners were arrested after the locals tipped off the police.
Mr Agoro said the information they received from the locals was that the foreigners were begging in areas including Mwembe Tayari, Kibokoni and Moi Avenue.
The foreigners included 19 adults and 21 children.
“Upon finding them the police escorted them to the Central police station for interrogation. They were found to be going against the regulation of the visa by converting themselves to beggars as opposed to being tourists,” he said
The foreigners are currently being held up at the police station pending further probe.
“Their passports have been forwarded to the immigration for further verification. Determination will be reached after verification of the documents.
Mr Agoro added that a preliminary analysis of the documents has revealed that they are valid.
“Although the foreigners have contravened the conditions of the visa,” he added.
Mr Agoro further said that the 40 were part of a group of foreigners who were on their way to (Eastleigh) Nairobi but opted to beg before leaving Mombasa.
He noted that the foreigners will be taken to the immigration office for processing of their documents before any further action is taken.
The foreigners are currently being interrogated at the Coast Regional Police Headquarters where the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) department has taken over the case.