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Hotel owners claim police harassing tourists

Hotel owners in the Coast region have accused police of harassing tourists while carrying out crackdowns on foreign workers without proper work permits.

Manda Hotels General Manager Peter Njoroge says police are raiding hotels suspected to be housing foreign workers without the hotels consent, thereby interfering with the privacy of tourists in various hotels.

“The raids being led by senior police officers targeting foreigners are not being conducted in a professional manner. The police are carrying out random search in hotels, harassing tourists to the extent of scarring them to leave, “he said.

He called on security agencies in the county to work closely with tourism stakeholders in ensuring that such exercises do not affect the rising number of tourists visiting the area.

“I call upon the various agencies charged with flushing out foreign workers without permits to work closely with hotel owners to ensure that genuine tourists are spared the agony of risking arrests,” said Njoroge.

Reports indicate that foreign workers in hotels have abandoned their homes and work-places and moved into hotels as tourists to avoid arrest and deportation. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last Friday ordered the immediate deportation of foreigners who do not have proper work permits following the lapse of a two-month grace period.

Kilifi county Executive Committee Member of Tourism and Trade, Nahida Mohammed called on the government to call off the exercise and hold negotiations with various stakeholders. “Let’s hold a dialogue on the way forward on how to proceed since the impromptu raids and searches in hotels are hurting tourism,” she said.

However, Mombasa County Commissioner Evans Achoki said the exercise was being carried in a professional manner, even as he called on hoteliers to cooperate with security agencies in ensuring fair play. 

“Let hotel owners inform visitors of the ongoing crackdown that they need to produce proof of identification once our officers come knocking this way no one will be harassed in the process, “said Achoki.

He said 22 foreigners had been arrested in Mombasa and were being detained at various police stations awaiting deportation. “In our custody we have 22 foreigners arrested over the weekend, they are likely to be deported any time from now,” he said.

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