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Kenya Asks Citizens Not to Harbor Terrorists - 2003-03-20

The Kenyan government is appealing to its citizens not to harbor terrorists. The appeal followed the arrest of a man believed to have been involved in two terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Kenya has suffered two serious terrorist attacks in recent years. An attack last November near Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa led to the deaths of 15 people, and a 1998 attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi killed more than 200 people.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka described it as regrettable and most unfortunate that some of those implicated in the 1998 and 2002 terrorist attacks are Kenyan nationals.

He was speaking a day after the arrest of a suspected al-Qaida operative in neighboring Somalia. The man, whose name has not been released, is believed to be a Yemeni national. He is being questioned in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Mr. Musyoka urged Kenyans not to have anything to do with terrorism.

"We are calling on any Kenyan, all Kenyans, particularly patriotic Kenyans, not to be lured into doing anything inimical to the interests of this country," he said. "Because terrorists will find no place if no Kenyan family or Kenyan collaborators get involved."

One in 10 Kenyans are Muslims, and many in that community have strongly objected to President Bush's war on terror, describing it as an attack on Islam.

Mr. Musyoka also appealed to Kenyan Muslims to remain calm following the U.S. attack on targets in Baghdad.

"I wish to make it clear that the war against terrorism is not targeted against our Muslim brothers. Terrorism knows no color, religion or boundary," he said. "We call upon the Muslim community to differentiate between terrorism and Islam. Terrorism is a crime against humanity, and Islam, which is a religion, is all about humanity."

Mr. Musyoka said Kenya was taking a neutral stance to the war on Iraq. He urged the world to seek a quick resolution to the conflict, preferably using diplomatic channels.