News / Africa

In Kenya, Reports of Police Abuse in Mostly Ethnic-Somali Town

The Garissa Halgan Quran House Resort Hotel is engulfed in flames after Kenyan security personnel, according to residents, swept into the predominantly ethnic-Somali town beating people and burning property, northern Kenya, Nov. 19, 2012.
The Garissa Halgan Quran House Resort Hotel is engulfed in flames after Kenyan security personnel, according to residents, swept into the predominantly ethnic-Somali town beating people and burning property, northern Kenya, Nov. 19, 2012.
NAIROBIKenyan army and security forces clashed with locals in the predominantly ethnic-Somali town of Garissa on Tuesday, leaving scores wounded and many residents fuming with accusations of arson and physical abuse.
 
At least seven people are nursing bullet wounds from violence that broke out a day after unknown gunmen killed three soldiers who had stopped to change a tire on their truck in the northeastern region that borders war-torn southern Somalia.
 
Residents say security officers burned down some businesses in the course of searching for the attackers on Monday, prompting some locals to riot in protest.
 
According to a report by Agence France-Presse, Red Cross officials in Kenya have said that one person had died and 48 others were being treated at Garissa hospital in the wake of Tuesday morning's violence. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the shooting of Kenyan troops, the French news outlet also says Somali-based al-Shebab militants have vowed revenge for Kenya's military involvement in southern Somalia.
 
According to Billow Kerrow, a former member of parliament from Kenya’s primarily Muslim northeastern region, both government officials and civilians habitually target his community in the aftermath of terror attacks. Some Muslim leaders have also criticized the government for carrying out collective punishment in Garissa.
 
But Kenya military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said people are spreading lies about the military's behavior in Garissa.
 
“The military were on the outside of the village stopping anybody from fleeing out of the village, and the police carried out the search inside the village," he said of the recent crackdown on riots. "Where the village was and the fire [occurred] are on different areas, and therefore the allegations that the military or the police burned [a business] — that is unfounded and has got no basis whatsoever.”
 
Kenyan security forces have been on edge after more than 40 police officers were killed in an ambush by cattle rustlers in northwestern Kenya just over a week ago.
 
Meanwhile, calm has returned to Nairobi's predominantly ethnic-Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh, where paramilitary officers patrolled mostly empty streets a day after clashes involving Kenyan and Somali youth broke out in the wake of a bombing on Sunday. The explosion on a Nairobi bus killed at least seven and injured 29.
 
Shortly after than explosion, Iman Burran, chairman of the Eastleighwood youth forum, said he believes police are unfairly targeting the city's ethnic-Somali population.
 
"We need to do further investigations instead of targeting one community," he said. "Me, I am Somali Kenyan, but still I am Somali, I look like a Somali. I can be arrested because I am of Somali origin. We do know who is creating these problems, these bombs. We don't know whether its al-Shabab or other elements, unless we have independent investigations, we cannot verify."
 
New York-based Human Rights Watch has expressed concern about tactics used by Kenyan security officers, particularly in northeastern Kenya. The group accuses security officers of subjecting locals to beatings, torture, and other abuses.
 
Peter Cobus contributed to this report.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Muli Ben
November 23, 2012 3:05 PM
This article as reorted by your correspondent is as usual biased to potray somalis and muslim communities in Kenya as Victims.Your paper should appreciate the efforts done by Kenyan defence forces under extreme provocation.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 21, 2012 5:29 PM
Most Somalis living in Kenya have economically invested so much in that country for the past 22 years. The government of Kenya and average Kenyans have undoubtly benefited financially from these investements.
According to International Human Rights, Kenyan Police and Security officials have mistreated immigrant Somalis for so long.
I think it's time for Somalis to head back home and learn how to live in peace among themselves.

by: Githogori Nyangara-Murage from: San Francisco Bay Area
November 21, 2012 4:21 PM
"clashes involving Kenyan and Somali youth" - the implication here is that the Somali youth are not Kenyan, which is absolutely WRONG! I expect better from a journalist. I would have phrased it as "clashes involving Kenyan youths of Somali and non-Somali ethnicity", clumsy maybe, but a better reflection of the truth and less divisive. - .githogori.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More