Kenya holds 3000 suspects, UN body demands access

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is seeking access to hundreds of Somalis detained by Kenyan authorities as part of an ongoing major security operation.

Kenya holds 3000 suspects, UN body demands access

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kenyan authorities have detained over 3000 people since the launch of a majority security operation last week, including 69 who have already been sent to court, according to a senior government official.

"We have on our hands over 3000 [people] who are confined," Assistant Interior Cabinet Secretary Mwendwa Njoka told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

"They are among the people who have been arrested when the operation started last week," he explained.

"The operation started in Eastleigh. That was the main place of focus," Njoka said, referring to a mostly Somali district of Nairobi.

"A significant number of them are from that area, [but] they are not only Somalis or Muslims; they are people from different denominations, ethnicity and nationalities," added the government official.

Njoka said the suspects, who include Kenyans, Ugandans, Congolese, Eritreans, South Sudanese and Somalis, are confined at Kasarani Stadium in the capital Nairobi, but at night they are moved to various police stations.

He added that 447 people are being interrogated and screened before being referred to court.

"As of now 69 have been taken to court; others are set to be deported," Njoka said.

Kenyan authorities launched a massive operation to restore security after a recent spate of attacks in capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.

A directive issued by Kenyan authorities two weeks ago asked all refugees in urban centers - estimated to number nearly 50,000 - to relocate to two designated refugee camps in the mostly arid northern areas of Dadaab and Kakuma.

Kenya shelters close to 800,000 refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNHCR wants access to Somalis detained in Kenya

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is seeking access to hundreds of Somalis detained by Kenyan authorities as part of an ongoing major security operation.

"We have just held crucial talks with top officials of the government," UNHCR spokesman in Nairobi Emmanuel Nyabera told Anadolu Agency.

"The talks were centered on the government allowing us to access the Somalis where they are being screened," he explained.

The UNHCR official said the Kenyan government has promised to respond to their request, but did not say when that might be.

"The fact that we met, talked and negotiated, is positive," added Nyabera.

Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 10:17
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