Arrests in Kenya spark diplomatic row

March 30, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – A major row is simmering within the country’s top security agencies following reports that some four men arrested in Mombasa last week were not terrorists as earlier thought by security agencies.

And as a result, impeccable sources said, an investigation has been ordered to establish circumstances that led to their arrest and subsequent detention after it emerged that they were people with close ties to a royal family in one of the Middle East countries.

It also follows that several other suspects arrested in Mombasa and Nairobi lately on suspicion of being terrorists were actually businessmen or visitors in the country whose travel documents were problematic.

Several countries are reported to have formally protested at the manner in which Kenya was conducting the ant-terrorism fight, especially in cases where innocent people are arrested and labeled terror suspects.

While there are cases where actual people suspected to be terrorists have been arrested, detained and interrogated and others arraigned in court or deported, most of the cases have been where wrong suspects have been arrested, our sources said.

It is understood that the country in question following the wrongful arrest of the four has already protested to the Kenyan government over their detention without due justification.

The four men were arrested in Mombasa last Wednesday and were briefly detained before they were set free.

Our attempts to get a comment from the Foreign Affairs Ministry over the protests reported from the Middle East country were futile.

“There have been high level meetings since the issue came up.  The matter is being handled by the authorities responsible,” a source privy to the concerns raised by the Middle East country said.

Another source told Capital News that top security chiefs had met at Harambee House on Tuesday where they extensively discussed the issue of terrorism and the ongoing crackdown but details of the meeting’s outcome were not immediately available.

On Thursday last week, some three men were arrested at the Wilson airport on suspicion of being terrorists but were released later after it emerged that they were not suspects.

Anti terrorism police unit Chief Nicholas Kamwende when contacted about the arrest of the suspects said “I am not aware.”

On Wednesday, Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia said the country had intensified the war against terrorism in the country and warned that “no particular community was targeted.”

“We have intensified a crackdown on terrorism and the borders are well secured, our officers are out there to make the country safe,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an IGAD forum in Nairobi.

He however, denied there was an influx of terrorists in the country.

“It is not true that there is an influx of terrorists in the country, there have been isolated cases where refugees enter the country and they are profiled like what happened in Dobley, there is no influx at all,” he said.


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