All were taken to the Immigration Bureau for questioning and for drug tests on urine samples
Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Okello Oryem said Ugandans who go abroad and commit crime should be punished. Photo by Mary Kansiime
A total of 11 Ugandans are among 16 Africans arrested over alleged trafficking in drugs and immigration offences in Bangkok, Thailand.
Without revealing their identities, the Ugandans were arrested in a swoop after police raided a condominium in Bangkok's RCA entertainment area, a fortnight ago.
A combined force of immigration police, commandos from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Makksan police searched the condominium in the popular entertainment area on Rama IX Road.
They were looking for a group of Africans for alleged drugs and immigration offences.
They searched rented rooms in the eight-storey building and arrested an Ethiopian man and 16 women, 11 Ugandans, four Tanzanians and a Syrian, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau announced on Facebook.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem, though revealing he was not aware of the arrest, said Uganda is a dignified country which does not condone crime.
He said Ugandans who go abroad and commit crime should be punished.
"Uganda has a good name and if you commit a crime, you should be jailed and keys thrown away. Let the country's law take their course," he told New Vision via telephone on Sunday.
He noted that although it's required that all Ugandans who travel abroad should first register with the nearest embassy, most of them do not and it's very difficult to help them when they run into trouble.
According to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, all were taken to the Immigration Bureau for questioning and for drug tests on urine samples. All tested negative for drugs and were charged with being illegally in the country.
Immigration chief Lt. Gen. Natthorn Phrosunthorn said the operation was in line with the government's policy to crack down on foreign suspects in drugs and other unlawful activities that pose a threat to national security.
According to Natthorn, the extended investigation learned there were Africans involved in illicit drugs in the Rama IX area.
Last month, 20 Africans were caught with falsified visas, Thai media reported.
When asked about the falsified visas, the Directorate of Immigration and Citizenship Control, spokesperson, Anthony Namara, told New Vision that they (immigration) are notified through Ugandan missions in different countries.
"Once such cases (falsified visas) come up, the arresting officers notify and work with our officers at different missions," Namara told New Vision via telephone.