Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

5 May 2014

Kenyan Blasts Prove That Collective Punishment Is Still Not Counter-Terrorism

analysis

No one disputes that Kenya has a serious problem with domestic terrorism. This weekend was further proof, if any was needed: another seven people dead, and scores injured in four separate attacks.

But Kenya's response isn't helping. While the violence may have its root in Somalia, this doesn't mean that Kenya's large ethnic-Somali population deserves to be punished.

"We have arrested almost 4,000 people in this operation," said Kenya's interior minister Joseph Ole Lenku in early April, referencing Kenya's high-profile Operation Usalama (peace) Watch, designed to put an end to the shootings, bomb blasts and grenade attacks attributed to Somali Islamist militant group Al Shabaab. Since then, even more have been detained - most without charge and in deplorable conditions.

What Ole Lenku didn't say was that almost all of these new inmates, bar the odd unfortunate Ethiopian, were Somali refugees or ethnic-Somali Kenyans.

They were rounded up en masse as Kenya's hapless police, unable to track the real culprits, went in for straight-up racial profiling instead. This isn't counter-terrorism - it's state-sponsored xenophobia.

He also neglected to mention, although he must surely have known it to be true, that this cack-handed, indiscriminate approach - which included ...

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.