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Journalists and members of the civil society march for the World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2018, in Nakuru, Kenya. /VCG Photo
Kenya Union of Journalists on Friday condemned the arrest of journalists from two Chinese news organizations, saying the country's immigration authorities should hold responsibility for illegal workers.
Video footage circulating online showed gun-wielding Kenyan police on Wednesday raiding a Chinese state media newsroom in Nairobi and detaining several foreign journalists, who were confirmed to be working in Kenya with legal documents, for what they alleged were immigration offenses.
The Kenyan police later apologized to Chinese officials for the improper action and promised they will constrain officers to prevent such incidents in the future.
Written in a public letter, Secretary-General of Kenya Union of Journalists Erick Oduor said: "Police should keep off newsroom."
"There is no justification for violence against journalists," Oduor wrote.
Referring to a similar harassment of British Broadcasting Corporation last month – the BBC's newsroom was disrupted despite journalists providing the required papers and identification cards, Oduor said: "It is disturbing that police officers have stormed newsrooms to violently arrest journalists, whom the government has since established that are in Kenya legally."
He went on to say that the country's Department of Immigration should hold responsibility for illegal immigrants.
"The rot is in the Department of Immigration, where investigation should be carried out on how expatriates acquire the requisite paper to work in Kenya," he said.
Last month, Kenya began hunting down and arresting those illegally in the country after holding a 60-day exercise in which every foreigner was required to revalidate their permits.