Two Frenchmen on a charity mission in Kilifi got a rude shock when police pounced on them at a stadium where they had gone to donate balls and other equipment to a football club.
The Wednesday night arrests, led by county CID boss Prosper Bosire, for allegedly being in the country illegally, was the start of a long nightmare for Mr Laine Sebastian Mario and his friend Abdelkarim Medifene, a Paris lawyer.
The men’s 24-hour ordeal ended on Thursday morning after Kilifi County Commander James Kithuka intervened and apologised to them.
Mr Mario, who is married to a Kenyan, and Mr Medifene were seized as they prepared to hand over the donation to Kilifi Football Club members.
They were marched to Mr Bosire’s office where they were interrogated for hours before he released them.
He confiscated their passports, saying they would only be returned after investigations.
“Armed police officers escorted us to Bofa where my friend stays because he had left his passport behind,” Mr Medifene said.
“All this happened in front of my friend’s two daughters, aged nine and 15,” he added. He said efforts to seek help from Deputy Governor Kenneth Kamto failed as the CID boss said the matter was a security issue.
They also said efforts to reach Mr Kithuka were thwarted when they were ordered to leave the area or spend the night in the police cells.
On Thursday morning they went to Mr Kithuka’s office and he called Immigration officer Edith Mutie who checked their passports and found them to be in order.
Mr Kithuka apologised, explaining that the incident was due to insecurity in the country.