Migori County now wants the government to consider deploying military officers at the border with Tanzania to contain further importation of coronavirus into the country.
The visibly panicked residents said it is only the military who can now deal with the free and illegal movement of human beings across the highly porous border that has seen a rise of the virus infections in the region.
So far, the county has registered seven positive coronavirus cases and all patients have had a travel history to the neigbouring country.
Speaking to KNA by phone from Isebania border town Monday, Pastor Joel Chacha of the Nyamaharaga PAG church alleged a conspiracy between the local police and the immigration officials of allowing free movements of people and cargo across the border after being bribed.
“Save for minimal legal-immigration checks at the Isebania one-stop border point, illegal human crossing business is happening at crossing points at Nyamtiro, Gwitembe, Motemorabu, Kopanga and Muhuru with the express knowledge of police and immigration officers,” claimed Chacha.
He said it has become clear that all the security agencies at the border are not helping the government with proper surveillance of the border and thus it would be prudent to use the military to seal the loophole.
Nyamaharaga Ward member of county assembly (MCA) Elias Nyaure says the state must change tactics in securing the border by replacing security agents seen to be compromising the tight immigration rules during this time of Covid-19.
He said the current security agents who are allowing people to cross over into the country from Tanzania side after being bribed can be put aside until the streak of coronavirus is controlled.
Their roles at the border can be replaced for a while or they be made to assist a more reliable force to conduct border surveillance, added Nyaure.
Residents said the borderline requires an up to date security surveillance to assist in closing all the panya routes that the people are using to cross into the country illegally.
“We are at the border and we watch helplessly how people Tanzanians and even Kenyans are smuggled onto the country and vice versa using boda boda motorbikes throughout the day and night,” said Mrs. Boke Mahanga, who also suggested for the deployment of a different force to man the border.
Mr. Francis Ouko, a resident of Muhuru bay in Nyatike said police and immigration officials were trying their best but were still overwhelmed by the number of people illegally crossing into the country using unofficial border points
“The people have become used to the security officers manning the border here and so they are using all manner of tricks to find their ways into the country thus exposing all communities in Kenya to the risk of contracting Covid-19,” he said.
As a result, there was need for a different force to be deployed to scare those out to flout the government ban on free movement until the virus is dealt with, he told KNA through phone from Nyatike.