News / Africa

    Anti-Terror Operations Stoke Religious Tension in Kenya

    Roopa Gogineni
    In Kenya’s second largest city,  Mombasa, a string of alleged extrajudicial killings and disappearances of suspected terrorists has raised tensions between the police and the Muslim community. The latest alleged target was Omar Faraj, a 40-year-old cashier, who was shot dead at home by police.

    At the butcher shop where Omar Faraj worked as a cashier, the till is unmanned. In late October, Kenyan police killed Faraj, accusing him of planning a terrorist attack.

    "Many customers have not come back… the customers who do come are very upset. They come here and they cry," said Butcher Joseph Kawemba, who worked with Faraj since 2008.

    Early on a Sunday morning, anti-terror police surrounded Faraj’s apartment, firing at the building and lobbing canisters of tear gas inside. After the raid, neighbors found Faraj’s dead body on top of his wife Rahma, who had passed out.

    Police said they recovered grenades and ammunition from the apartment.

    At the Memon Villa mosque where Faraj often led prayers, a friend who declined to be on camera, believes the police made a mistake.

    "They claimed he was found with grenades, and yet we know he doesn't even own a knife to slaughter a chicken. He wouldn't even know where to buy a grenade. These things, they surprise us. Even now," said the friend.

    Kenya receives U.S. funding and intelligence support for its anti-terror efforts.  In October, it passed new anti-terrorism legislation, giving authorities more leeway to root out suspected terror cells.

    "Whenever we come across anybody who may be associating with al-Shabab or any other militia groups like al-Qaida or other terrorist groups, then we are able to deal with this particular person quite rightly to distort their operations and disorientate them completely so that they do not create any kind of crimes within the region," said Aggrey Adoli, the Coast province police chief.

    In August, rioters set fire to cars after Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo, with alleged ties to al-Shabab, was shot dead.

    Though the police deny responsibility, human rights groups believe Rogo’s was one of several extrajudicial killings and abductions carried out by Kenyan security forces.

    Mombasa-based Muslims for Human Rights, or MUHURI, is now investigating Faraj’s death.

    "The responsibility to investigate, it is the police, it is not a human rights organization or anyone else. They are mandated by law. Going to a place at 2 o'clock and terrorizing the whole neighborhood, it is not fair, really," explains MUHURI's director, Khelef Khalifa.

    Khalifa claims the passing of the anti-terror bill has allowed the police, whom he says have a long history of committing extrajudicial killings, to act with impunity.

    "Now we ask ourselves, why did they go and shoot somebody if that person was not hiding? They could have easily gone to his place of work and arrested him," he said.

    In this city, many now live in fear of the police.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady Trip to Africa to Highlight Educational Obstacles Girls Face

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora