1,200 seized in Kenya crackdown on immigrants

Suspected Somali illegal immigrants stand inside the Kibera Magistrates Court in Kenya's capital Nairobi January 18, 2010. Kenyan security forces raided a mainly Somali suburb of the capital during the week, arresting scores of people following violence at a protest two days earlier blamed on extremists from the lawless Horn of Africa nation. Photo/REUTERS

More than 1,200 people have been rounded up in a countrywide swoop on illegal immigrants’ dens. Many of them had forged documents. Police say they arrested 1,240 foreigners, but government spokesman Alfred Mutua placed the figure at 2,000.

Most of them are from lawless Somalia, and they include two army generals, 11 MPs and other officials of the Transitional Federal Government, embroiled in a war with the al-Shabaab militia.

One of the MPs arrested was among 200 foreigners charged in court, allegedly for carrying fake documents. “Any foreigner living in Kenya should have permission from the nationals, through their government. Continued stay of foreigners, whose mission is not known by the government is a threat to security,” Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.

Ethiopians, Rwandans, Tanzanians, Ugandans, Burundians as well as Mozambique nationals, were also rounded up. In Nairobi, 45 refugees were found to have sneaked into the city from camps in Northern Kenya. The government was in the process of handing them over to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Mr Kiraithe said 212 foreigners were arrested in Rift Valley, 123 in Central, 60 in Coast, 337 in North Eastern, 20 in Nyanza and 23 in Eastern. Another 465 were seized in Nairobi, after a three-day crackdown in Eastleigh, Komarock, South B and the city centre.

The raids were conducted by the anti-terror police detectives, backed General Service Unit (GSU) officers and Administration Police.

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