Police escort Mr Baha Ukes, a New Zealand national who was arrested in Meru on Tuesday with two underage girls from Sere Olipi in Samburu. He said he intended to marry one of them and had already paid eight cows and Sh7,500 as part of dowry. Police are also investigating claims that he is involved in production of pornographic films in Samburu County.
Police in Meru are holding a New Zealand national suspected of being involved in a child trafficking and pornography syndicate.
Mr Baha Ukes, 38, was arrested at Nakumatt Mall in Meru town on Tuesday evening in the company of two underage Samburu sisters.
Another man suspected to be a recruiter of the girls is also in police custody.
The foreigner is alleged to have picked the two girls at Sere Olipi in Wamba, Samburu County and travelled with them to Meru.
It was not immediately established where he intended to take the two children but he claimed that he was finalising plans to marry one of them.
Police who were acting on a tip-off from their colleagues at Archers Post arrested the four and took them to the Meru Police Station.
Mr Ukes told journalists that he had already paid eight cows and Sh7,500 as part of dowry to the girl’s parents.
He said he was in the country to take scenic photographs to be captured in a book he intends to publish when he fell in love with one of the girls.
He further claimed that the girls’ parents were finalising plans to get an identification card (ID) for the girl to be married off.
“Together with the parents, we were at an advanced stage in finalising plans so that I could marry one of the girls.
I had brought them to Meru for shopping,” he said.
Mr Ukes’s passport shows he was born in Iran but later changed his nationality to New Zealand.
Details on his passport further reveal that he has been to Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, Britain, Germany, India, Uruguay and Belgium.
He was also found with two Nikon cameras and a Vertu phone.
The two girls who could neither speak in Swahili or English said the foreigner picked them up at their home on Tuesday morning.
“The foreigner picked us at our home. He has paid eight cows to my parents and has a remainder of about three more more cows to pay,” the bride to be, an 11-year-old, said through an interpreter.
Meru Administration Police Commander Njue Njagi said they were investigating the suspect on claims of child trafficking.
Mr Njagi said police will crack down on people who exploit children for financial gain.
Police officers from Archers Post arrived in Meru to help with the investigations.
“We are also investigating reports that the foreigner is involved in production of pornographic films in Samburu county.
We are optimistic that we will retrieve important information from him,” said Mr George Naibei, the OCS at Archers Post.