The Star (Nairobi)

17 April 2014

Kenya: Police Summon Farah Over Al Shabaab

Former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim yesterday denied any link to Al Shabaab. He has been summoned to appear before the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit at 11 this morning to respond to allegations that his remarks yesterday morning on Citizen TV constituted hate speech.

"They have asked me to appear before the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit at 11. I will do so," said Maalim.

Yesterday morning President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto met Somali businessmen and 25 MPs led by Majority Leader Adan Duale to assure them that the government was not targeting Muslims and Somalis in the fight against terrorism. "This operation is only targeting crime and terror and all of us must be supportive. It is in the interest of all of us to have a secure country," said a statement from State House.

"The MPs told the president that they felt profiled and the population only see them as terrorists, and that there violations during the swoop," said one MP who attended.

Uhuru told the MPs that he had been monitoring the operation from abroad and had spoken to the Police Inspector General to ensure there were no violations or extortion. He said that the state was also going to crack down on Mungiki.

He told the MPs that Police Oversight Authority should investigate any reported violations.

After one hour the President left for Sagana lodge but the MPs stayed on with senior security officials including Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.

"At the end, they accepted that there were problems with the operation, and that they should work with the community," said the MP.

Earlier this month Uhuru met Somali leaders including Duale, Garissa senator Yusuf Haji, Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan and members of the Eastleigh Business Community and agreed that the community would set up an action group to work with government to disrupt terror networks.

According to police sources, Farah Maalim will be asked to respond to intelligence reports that he is an al Shabaab sympathizer.

Yesterday on Citizen, Farah alleged that government knew more than it was saying about the recent terrorist attacks and wanted to blame Somalis to distract attention.

"It's rubbish for anyone to claim that I have links to Shabaab and that my bank account has been investigated. I do not have any money to cause any concern. I'm a simple ordinary Kenyan who struggles to make ends meet," said Maalim.

The former Lagdera MP was summoned questioning soon after he finished a live talk show on Citizen Television about Operation Usalama Watch.

"I am not worried about the summons and they will not cow me. I believe the approach the government has taken in its quest to fighting terror will not yield fruit but will escalate the situation," he said.

"It is also aimed at profiling the Muslim and Somali community and to serve as an economic sabotage to the enterprising Somali people," he said.

"We will support war on terror but not a reckless government which has no idea of how to tackle the threat," he added.

The decision to summon Maalim was reached as the National Security Advisory Council not to halt Operation Usalama Watch until it had achieved the desired results,

Yesterday police released figures of those screened under Usalama Watch.

The bulk of the 1136 people screened at Kasarani Stadium are Somalis but they include nationals from 13 countries. Of the 782 Somalis, 406 have been returned to Dadaab and 214 deported to Somalia.

Another 11 people from Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan will be deported. Another 313 were charged in court for lacking proper documentation.

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