Yesterday, the Australian authorities announced that they had seized heroine worth USD314 million just twenty-one nautical miles off the Kenyan Coast.
It means that the biggest record seizure of hard drugs in Africa was well within Kenyan territory. An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is an internationally recognized offshore zone that extends up to two hundred (200) miles from the baseline within which states enjoys coastal rights in relation to natural resources and related jurisdictional rights.
The announcement for the seizure was made without any reference to Kenya. It means a foreign military that was policing Kenyan territory made a surprise arrest that has far reaching impact on global drugs trade.
This development also makes a damning indictment on Kenya’s coast guard capabilities. Not only the Kenyan Navy with its radars and newly acquired warships expected to keep watch, the marine administration police with it’s newly acquired speedboats and helicopters are expected to ensure no such activity happens within our waters.
Was the Australian Navy violating our territory? From 20 nautical miles, the contraband and arrested individuals were taken thousands of miles to Australia without our knowledge.
How many more vessels have gone through undetected? Are Kenyans aware of the fact that their country is a major transit point and also a consumer of hard drugs? Who are their local agents?
For a country that just suffered the Westgate tragedy, a country presently besieged by terrorists setting off IEDs indiscriminately, weekly bank robberies, daily carjackings, large scale wildlife poaching, and now the biggest at sea heroin seizure in the world, it certainly does bring a lot of worry.
Is Kenya’s security apparatus asleep? Are Kenyans safe?