Somali MPs condemn Kenya security swoop

January 20, 2010 12:00 am

, MOGADISHU, Jan 20 – Somali lawmakers criticised Kenya on Wednesday after nearly a dozen of the country\\\’s MPs were arrested during a security crackdown in the neighbouring country.

Security forces in Kenya rounded up around 300 Somalis in a swoop on suspected illegal immigrants at the weekend. The crackdown followed violent protests by Muslims last week to demand the release of a controversial Jamaican cleric.

"With one incident we cannot say Kenya is harassing the Somali community in general, but what has been done in Nairobi against the lawmakers recently was inappropriate," deputy parliament speaker Mohamed Omar Dalha told reporters in Mogadishu.

Six of the 11 MPs arrested were freed. Authorities said they were still verifying the documents of five MPs.

Lawmaker Bod Abdalla Magan described the arrests as "an embarrassment and total humiliation against the Somali nation" and condemned the Kenyan security forces for targeting Somalis living in Nairobi.

Many of those arrested were living in Nairobi\\\’s Eastleigh district, home to many Somalis, or Kenyans of Somali origin. Kenya also hosts some 300,000 Somali refugees in camps in the north of the country.

Muslims took to the streets Friday to demand the release of Abdullah al-Faisal, who is on a global terror watchlist and served four years in a British jail for inciting racial hatred. He has been in Kenyan custody for more than a week after the authorities tried and failed to deport him.

The police swoop in Eastleigh followed claims by the government that Somalia\\\’s hardline Islamist Shebab group had infiltrated the demonstration.


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