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

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid