NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – The government has vowed to undertake a major security operation targeting illegal Somali immigrants blamed for the rising cases of insecurity in the country.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo said most Somali refugees had fled designated camps and were now roaming in the country causing insecurity, particularly in Eastleigh and the border town of Garissa which have witnessed high cases of terror-related cases.
He said at least 90 suspects have been arrested since Thursday when an improvised bomb went off on the roadside, killing one person before a grenade was hurled at a mosque on Friday night killing five people.
Eight others, including Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan sustained serious injuries from the attack that occurred outside Hidaya mosque.
“Some of the suspects arrested are refugees who have fled from refugee camps,” Iringo said, adding “we will conduct countrywide operations to ensure all refugees are taken back to Dadaab.”
He announced that 92 suspects had been arrested over the two attacks in Eastleigh.
“They will be charged in court on Monday,” the PS said without specifying the nature of charges lined up for the suspects.
Speaking after visiting the Kamukunji at the Aga Khan Hospital, Iringo told Capital Fm News that the government was in talks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to have them sent back home since normalcy has returned in their country.
The Permanent Secretary who was accompanied by Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Waweru also assured that the government has put in place adequate measures to guarantee security in the country during the festive season and the general election due in March next year.
However, he called on Kenyans to continue working closely with the police and report any suspicious cases to help in the fight against terrorism and other threats facing the country’s national security.
“The government is very keen, it is concerned and we would like all Kenyans to cooperate and volunteer information because police cannot be all over, if you observe any suspicious movements, please report so that we can be able to deal with it,” he urged.
Violence in Kenya — ranging from attacks blamed on Islamists to inter-communal clashes to a police crackdown on a coastal separatist movement — have raised concerns over security ahead of elections due in March 2013.
Five years ago, elections descended into deadly post-poll killings that shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
Last month, riots broke out in Eastleigh district after the bombing of a bus, with running street battles between demonstrators and the police.