NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Despite continued criticism from politicians and human rights groups, the Usalama Watch operation continues, with over 100 more people arrested on Wednesday night, according to a police officer involved in the operation.
Armed police officers in uniform and plainclothes carried out the swoop mostly in Eastleigh, in a bid to weed out terror suspects and people living illegally in the country.
Eastleigh residents who spoke to Capital FM News supported the operation, but urged the police to conduct it professionally.
Mohammed Abdi a resident of Eastleigh 6th Street says the operation may be successful if only police approach the area residents in a cordial manner.
“We will be willing to give this information freely without being harassed,” he said.
His worry remains “on the kind of perception the rest of Kenyans will have on the Eastleigh community. We need security as well.”
For Ali Mohammed Ali, he said: “Young children who are yet to acquire identification documents should not be arrested.”
Residents of 4th Street had similar complaints but police have maintained that the operation will continue in accordance with the law.
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said police were holding over 400 suspects for screening while 82 aliens were deported to Somalia.
“Those who have refugee documents are taken back to their respective camps, while those who are found to have broken the law, are taken to court.”
“The operation will continue within the law and so far, there are no reported cases of people being mishandled,” he affirmed. “This is not a place of incarceration,” he said in reference to the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium.
Police officers explained that officers undertaking the exercise were under firm instructions from the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo not to allow any of the rights groups at the venue for now.
On Juja road, police have mounted check points for both personal and Public Service Vehicles where they are undertaking a thorough search on passengers and the matatu crews.
This is in efforts to ensure no materials that can be a security threat get to the Central Business District.
On Thursday, the Orange Democratic Movement through the acting chairman Anyang’ Nyong’o said “the mere presence of hundreds of illegal immigrants within our borders, who entered without our notice, is in itself a manifestation of serious lapses in our security, intelligence and immigration system. We need a thorough audit of our security, intelligence and immigration agencies.”