Muslims accuse police of terror

National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) Chairman Abdullahi Abdi (centre) flanked by other Muslim leaders at Nation Centre on April 15, 2014. Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE

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Muslim leaders on Tuesday protested against what they termed police brutality in the ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants.

They accused police of profiling and harassing Muslims under the guise of fighting terrorism.

This came as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA)started investigating claims that police have engaged in illegal activities during their operation to rid Kenya of terrorists and illegal immigrants.

The authority wants to establish whether police are involved in ethnic profiling, illegal detention and deportation, or are holding suspects incommunicado, particularly residents of Nairobi’s Eastleigh.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims secretary-general Adan Wachu warned that if the government continues with the operation unchanged, it would further harden the youths targeted.

“We condemn and we are ready to fight against terrorists from whatever quarters, group, and faith. Terrorism has to be eliminated using brains and not physical force. Unfortunately our leadership has fallen into a trap claiming they are fighting terrorism. They have supported terrorism. The youth have been more radicalised than before, feeling neglected by their own country and their rights abused,” he said.

Mr Wachu spoke at the Nation Centre where a group of Muslim leaders held discussions with senior editors.

The IPOA investigators are closely following the crackdown and monitoring police stations as well as the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani, Nairobi, which the government has converted into a centre for screening those arrested in swoops around the city.

“Where at the end of its investigations the authority finds instances of ethnic profiling, it will not hesitate to make recommendations, including where necessary, disciplinary action against individual members of the National Police Service,” IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru said in a statement.

He further urged Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo to ensure that his officers do not violate the law during the operations.

The operation dubbed Usalama Watch started two weeks ago in Nairobi’s Eastleigh which is dominated by the Somali community, and has since been extended to other counties.

Over 4,000 people have been arrested in the operation.

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