Sabahi (Washington, DC)

7 April 2014

Kenya: 1,000 Held in Kasarani Stadium in Ongoing Eastleigh Security Crackdown

Photo: Capital FM
Building ravaged by explosion in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

Kenyan security forces arrested about 1,000 people in Nairobi's Eastleigh neighbourhood at the weekend, bringing the total number of people arrested in the ongoing security sweep targeting the majority-Somali neighbourhood to more than 3,000, Somalia's RBC Radio reported Sunday (April 6th).

Police are holding the suspects, which include men, pregnant women and children, at Kasarani Stadium within the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi.

"Kasarani is the sorting ground and it is not just a police operation. It is a multi-agency affair because we also have immigration officials there to ascertain the identities of these individuals," Nairobi police commander Benson Kibue said according to Kenya's Capital FM.

On Sunday, police said they found chemicals and other materials used in the production of improvised explosive devices in a house in Eastleigh, Kenya's The Standard reported.

Police also reportedly recovered al-Shabaab training materials from the house, and they are searching for the house's tenant, a Somali refugee, Kibue said.

"He is supposed to be in a refugee camp but he is here now with bomb-making materials," Kibue said. "We do not know where he planned to use the explosive."

Prominent leaders from Kenya's Somali community have condemned the security crackdown and the ongoing round-up of Eastleigh residents, calling it discrimination against the Muslim and Somali community.

"The government has sent security agencies in Eastleigh and they are killing and robbing residents," said former Speaker of Parliament Farah Maalim at a gathering of leaders in Nairobi on Saturday, Kenya's Daily Nation reported. "The government is using the threat of terrorism as a scapegoat to seek Western validation and support."

Meanwhile, Somalis living in Kenya without legal or permanent residence will be deported, Somalia's Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur said on Sunday.

"In the past days, the Kenyan police went on massive security operation in which they arrested thousands of Somalis," Nur said according to RBC Radio. "We are working for the release of those who hold any legal document to stay and live in Kenya, but those who do not have any documents will be taken back to their country."

Nur's announcement follows a meeting Saturday between Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, where the two leaders reportedly discussed Kenya's detention of Somali refugees.

Somali volunteers bringing food and water to the stadium have said conditions are unacceptable and that people are being denied access to basic health services, including three pregnant women who reportedly delivered in the stadium, according to Dalsan Radio.

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InFocus

Kenya Arrests Thousands in Terror Crackdown

Building ravaged by explosion in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

According to the government, thousands have been arrested in the ongoing crackdown on terrorism, and they are awaiting their documents to be scrutinised for authenticity. Read more »