Security agents in Mombasa County are detaining 40 Jordanian nationals after they were found begging in the streets of Mombasa in an alleged foiled human trafficking case.
Mombasa residents were shocked on Thursday when they saw at least 40 tourists begging in the streets of the old town to collect money for food and transport to allegedly travel to Nairobi.
On rare occasions, the tourists-turned-beggars of the Jordanian nationals have been spotted in the Marikiti market seeking help, having run out of money to buy groceries and move to Nairobi.
“They asked for our help to raise money. We were surprised because we’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Mohamed Hamisi, a resident of the old town.
According to Mr. Hamisi, it was a strange experience for locals to encounter a situation where tourists, on whom the coastal city depends for revenue, become beggars with nowhere to go.
Mvita subdistrict police commander Maxwell Agoro, who confirmed the arrests of the tourists, said the foreigners had valid tourist visas but their only undoing was turning into beggars, which is against the terms of their travel documents.
The foreigners were arrested after the locals gave the police a tip.
Mr Agoro said the information they got from the locals was that the foreigners were begging in areas like Mwembe Tayari, Kibokoni and Moi Avenue.
Among the foreigners were 19 adults and 21 children.
“When the police found her, they escorted her to the central police station for questioning. They were found to be violating visa regulations by turning into beggars instead of being tourists,” he said
The foreigners are currently being held at the police station pending further investigation.
“Their passports have been forwarded to immigration for further verification. The determination is made after examining the documents.
Mr Agoro added that a preliminary analysis of the documents showed that they were valid.
“Although the foreigners violated the conditions of the visa,” he added.
Mr Agoro said the 40 were part of a group of foreigners who were heading to (Eastleigh) Nairobi but chose to beg before leaving Mombasa.
He noted that the foreigners are taken to the immigration office to have their documents processed before further action is taken.
The foreigners are currently being interrogated at Coastal Police Headquarters, where the Criminal Investigation Department (DCI) has taken over the case.