4 July 2014

Kenya: Kimaiyo Denies Kasarani Detainees

Photo: John Nyaga/IRIN
Somali refugees appeal High Court's decision (file photo).

INSPECTOR General of Police David Kimaiyo has denied that hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants are still being detained at Safaricom Kasarani.

Kimaiyo said the section of the facility temporarily gazetted as a screening centre has since been closed and police officers guarding the area withdrawn.

The facility however continues to receive suspects, mainly of Somali origin, some as late as yesterday. Six GSU officers also guard the main entrance.

Addressing the press at Kasarani yesterday, Kimaiyo said the camp had been gazetted as a police station during the operation to arrest illegal immigrants and refugees who had left their camps without authorization but had since shut down operations.

"[The section of Kasarani that] had been gazetted as a police station was closed more than a month ago. Policemen are no longer there and the place is no longer serving as a screening ground for illegal immigrants or those refugees who had left their designated areas," Kimaiyo said. He explained that the holding facility was closed down the moment the number of those arrested and taken to the facility for screening subsided, the exercise was moved to various police stations as the numbers were within their capacity.

However, he said those individuals still in custody had pending deportation cases. Speaking separately to the Star earlier in the day, police Spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki said there were 42 people still in police custody.

"These people are from different nationalities, including Somalis, Southern Sudanese, Rwandese and Burundians. Out of the 42, 15 are refugees to be returned to their respective camps and 27 are illegal immigrants awaiting deportation to their country. Just like any prisoners they are fed three meals a day," she said.

Star reporters were yesterday barred from accessing the facility and even witnessed six people in a police van being ferried out of the facility.

Kasarani OCPD Augustine Nthumbi said the facility has been operational and has continued to receive more illegal immigrants and refugees for vetting. Kimaiyo took journalists around the stadium before holding a press conference.

"There are no people being detained here. The six people you saw were brought in and screened and taken to different police stations," he told reporters denying that the people were being ferried away for purposes of a cover-up.

He further said that operation Usalama Watch, which kicked off three months ago, was ongoing, although it had been scaled down during the month of Ramadhan. Kimaiyo also said that the operation was being conducted in line with the law and full respect for human rights.

Abdullahi Abdi, Chairman National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF), who was present at Kasarani during the IG's tour, condemned the secrecy in which the operation was being conducted and demanded that police allow access and food donations and other supplies to those already in custody.

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