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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs