20 November 2012

Kenya: Sheikhs Call for Calm in Eastleigh

A sense of calm has now returned to Nairobi's Eastleigh Estate a day after police and residents engaged in running battles, even as security personnel ... ( Resource: Normalcy Returns to Kenya's Capital

MUSLIM leaders yesterday appealed for calm as mobs blockaded Juja road and Eastleigh protesting against the deaths of nine people in an explosion in a mini bus on Sunday.

Yesterday three young men were critically injured in Eastleigh by youth armed with pangas protecting houses belonging to Somalis. The young men were hacked on their heads near Mlango Kubwa but were rescued by Medicin Sans Frontiers.

Later a Red Cross ambulance rushed the two men with multiple deep cuts on their heads to hospital as police battled to control the the rioters from Mathare slums.

Yesterday General Service Unit officers were forced to fire in the air to rescue a boda boda rider who had been attacked by the mob and robbed before they attempted to escape with his motorbike into the slums.

Several pedestrians were robbed by the youth along Juja road especially the stretch between St Teresa's and Mathare No 10. The mob broke into at least two business premises and carried away goods including water tanks. Most businesses in Eastleigh were closed as the riots continued into the second day.

The mob from Mathare started attacking Somalis and Somali shops in Eastleigh soon after the bomb went off on the bus on Sunday at 4pm.

Yesterday police trucks were stationed along First Avenue, Second Avenue and Juja road while two GSU trucks and two anti riot squad Landrovers patrolled and engaged in running battles with the rioters.

In Eastleigh Starehe, OCPD Samuel Anampiu said that he had sought reinforcements from GSU and administration police apart to support regular police at Pangani police station.

Reports indicated that some youth attacked residents in several apartments in Eastleigh who fled to Pangani police station. Sheikh Mohammed Shakul, a local Muslim leader, yesterday condemned the Sunday bombing.

"We condemn the attacks with the strongest terms possible because it caused the deaths of innocent people. It is barbaric and un-Islamic and the criminals don't represent Muslims. We don't empathize with the criminal and terrorist acts. The people who did this intend to create tension between religions and ethnic communities and should not be allowed to do so. Those engaging in the supposed repercussion attacks on Somalis and Muslims are fulfilling the criminals' wish," Sheikh Shakul said.

Muslim leaders from Eastleigh said that nine women had been raped and several people injured during the attacks on Somalis. "People are looking at Somalis with suspicion because but it is not right. We were born and bred here and the terrorists don't represent them," said Sheikh Abdulrashid Ali Noor.

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