NAIROBI Kenya, Apr 8 – Police on Tuesday, declared the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium a no-go zone for humanitarian organisations which want access to those detained there, following a terror crackdown.
Administration Police Spokesman Masoud Mwinyi says officers undertaking the exercise were under firm instructions from the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo not to allow any of the groups at the venue for now.
“We are able to manage the situation in Kasarani because we’re conducting screening. Where these agencies come in, they will be called appropriately,” he said.
“We feel that it should be confined to the operations of the police and where need be, agencies which are relevant will be called on board.”
The UNHCR is among humanitarian organisations which have been seeking access to the stadium to enable its officials properly identify refugees and asylum seekers.
The UNHCR Information Officer Emmanuel Nyabera told Capital FM News that “negotiations are ongoing and we are hopeful we will still be able to access and assess the situation.”
“This access will allow UNHCR to properly identify refugees, asylum seekers and others of concern. It will also allow the agency to provide assistance to the detainees and obtain their release where appropriate,” a statement from the organisation reads.
Mwinyi says 3,000 people have been screened so far, 467 are being detained for investigation while 69 others have been charged with various offences.
“Among those arrested are individuals who are in the country without valid documents, those who are outside the precincts of legally gazetted areas and those in unauthentic documents,” he stated.
“As the operation continues, we are paying particular attention to documents such as the Kenyan national identity cards, passports, visas as well as work permits and refugee cards, all of which can be manipulated by unscrupulous persons.”
He maintained that the operation will continue across all parts of the country.
For the better part of the day, families of the suspects camped outside the stadium, painting a picture of a desperate situation, with humanitarian groups accusing police of violating the rights of those detained.
“I have been to the police station but they referred me here to the stadium; they want me to go back again. I was here by 7am but am yet to see my son who was arrested on Saturday,” he complained.
“They don’t want me to even give him food.”
Some of the suspects detained by police are young boys who have not attained the age of 18 years, while others told police they are in the process of acquiring identification documents.
“They arrested him this morning at around 1am for failing to answer two questions out of eight he was asked about the subjects he is taking in school,” Abdikadir Haji whose brother was arrested said.