News / Africa

Anti-Terror Operations Stoke Religious Tension in Kenya

Anti-Terror Operations Stoke Religious Tension in Kenya

x
Anti-Terror Operations Stoke Religious Tension in Kenyai
|| 0:00:00
X
Roopa Gogineni
November 18, 2012 5:00 PM
In Kenya’s 2nd 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. Roopa Gogineni has more from Mombasa for VOA.

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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid