Kenya deports Somalis, arrests hundreds in crackdown after attacks

Wed Apr 9, 2014 1:26pm EDT
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By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya said on Wednesday it had deported 82 Somalis and rounded up hundreds of others without proper documents, part of a security crackdown launched after repeated attacks claimed by militants from neighboring Somalia.

Police had detained 472 people in the past few days, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters at a stadium where other people were being screened to establish their identity.

"The process will continue until we do not have illegal aliens and those found to have refugees documents are taken to refugees camps," Lenku said.

Muslim leaders say they have been targeted unfairly by the arrests - and Human Rights Watch has called on Kenya to reconsider plans to move Somali refugees from cities to camps. Kenya says the measures are vital to security.

Islamist militants from Somalia's al Shabaab group killed at least 67 people in a raid on Nairobi's Westgate mall last year and have threatened more attacks unless Kenya pulls its troops out of Somalia.

Kenya, along with Uganda and Ethiopia, has been contributing to an African Union force fighting the al Qaeda-linked movement.

Gunmen shouting in a foreign language killed six worshippers in a church near Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa last month.

Kenyan authorities reacted by ordering all Somali refugees living in its urban areas to return to two camps closer to the countries' shared border.   Continued...

A suspected Somali illegal migrant arrested in a police swoop cries as she prepares to be processed for deportation at a holding station in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya