News / Africa

Kenya, Somali Refugees Exchange Blame for Attacks

A policeman uses a dog to disperse rioters during the second day of skirmishes in the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Kenya's capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012.
A policeman uses a dog to disperse rioters during the second day of skirmishes in the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Kenya's capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012.
A series of grenade attacks in a Somali neighborhood of Nairobi this past year has killed dozens of people and injured more than 100 others. Members of the Somali community living in the area believe the attacks are politically motivated, and accuse the Kenyan government of trying to chase them away from the city.   

The Eastleigh district of the Kenyan capital Nairobi has suffered a series of deadly attacks targeting churches, mosques and bus stops in recent months.

The attacks have led to police carrying out sweeps arresting hundreds of people in the area.

Policemen inspect the secured section at the scene of the blast in Eastleigh suburb of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 7, 2012.Policemen inspect the secured section at the scene of the blast in Eastleigh suburb of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 7, 2012.
x
Policemen inspect the secured section at the scene of the blast in Eastleigh suburb of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 7, 2012.
Policemen inspect the secured section at the scene of the blast in Eastleigh suburb of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 7, 2012.
The police have blamed the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab and their sympathizers for the spate of bomb and grenade attacks. The government also said the presence of Somali refugees has led to the deterioration of security in the country.

But the chairman of the Eastleigh Business Community, Hassan Gullet, said the attacks do not the bear the hallmarks of al-Shabab, and that there may be other forces at work.

“We really doubt its issues based on al-Shabab. The explosives which they are using are very small.  What we believe is this - it has a political connection. Because the target is definitely Somalis we suspect that probably this is one which is supposed to create a bad harmony between Somalis and non-Somalis who are Kenyans, it could also be a way of chasing Somalis from the country here,” Gullet said.

Kenya has faced a wave of terror attacks in the country since its troops entered Somalia to fight al-Shabab more than a year ago.

However, the militant group has not claimed responsibly for the attacks in Eastleigh or other parts of Kenya.

Police have arrested hundreds of people across the country in the wake of these attacks. But regional police commander Moses Ombati admits that they have yet to find the actual perpetrators.

“We want to know who [is] this person giving explosives and throwing grenades; this is the person we are looking for," he said. "It’s not many people, it’s not something we can say is out of hand, this is something that is under control, only that we have not got the right person.”

On Wednesday, the Kenyan government issued a directive calling on all Somali refugees and asylum seekers living in Eastleigh and other towns to move to the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

Abdifatah Abdullahi, a businessman in Eastleigh, said the directive will affect refugees but people like him with proper documents should be free from harrassment by the police.

“Before we secure the area, people with the right documents should feel secure,” he said. “They are the ones who are arrested and accused of being a suspect. It’s wrong to treat everyone you see in the street as a suspect, that increases the fear among people.”    

Amnesty International has also condemned Kenya's directive, saying the decision to place refugees and asylum seekers in camps away from urban centers is a discriminatory and unlawful restriction on freedom of movement.

Hassan Gullet of Eastleigh Business Community said tension in Eastleigh has given security forces a green light to abuse, harass, and extort money from people.

“When explosion takes place and people are injured, definitely government takes reaction [action] now," he said. "Sometimes they overreact and round up people indiscriminately and when they do that we end up having a lot of problems. Our security officers are not all good, there are some who are bad, and they target people where they possibly want to make money and they do make some money.”

Security officers have released some of the suspects arrested in the sweeps after interrogation, but police say they are still holding some whom they think will give them a lead to get those responsible for the attacks.

For now the fear is growing among Kenyans, who are calling for the police to get to bottom of the terror attacks and apprehend the culprits.
 
And Somalis, fearing further attacks, tit-for-tat violence and the police anti-terror campaign, are starting to leave Nairobi, to either head back to Somalia or to the refugee camps.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs