Kenya: 4,000 Arrested So Far in Terror Crackdown – Lenku

All Africa

By Jemimah Wangui

Building ravaged by explosion in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
Building ravaged by explosion in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

Nairobi — The government says 4,000 suspects have been arrested so far since the crackdown on terrorism started two weeks ago.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said that officers from the police and Immigration Department were still scrutinizing documents presented by some of the suspects for authenticity, before deciding those to be sent back to Somalia.

Lenku added that the mop up of the suspects is going on countrywide, and warned leaders against politicizing the matter by claiming it is only concentrated in Eastleigh.

“So far we have netted close to 4,000 people and of course some have been released and others charged in court.”

“As much as Eastleigh looks stepped up, it is because of the sophistication of crime around there. Right now we are concentrating on Nairobi and Mombasa but we are moving across the country for the mop up,” Lenku explained.

The Interior Cabinet Secretary also warned landlords who allow suspected terrorists to reside or use their buildings for criminal activities that the government would take possession of the buildings.

“Security is a shared responsibility. You can no longer continue to take money without questioning the activities that take place in the buildings.”

“In the event that the criminals escape from the buildings and the landlords do not give us the necessary information then we take action. The country’s security is mandatory regardless of collateral damage,” he added.

The Cabinet Secretary said investigations have so far revealed that some of the suspects had acquired national ID cards fraudulently, while others are genuine refugees who sneaked out of the camps.

Lenku further denied claims that those detained are being subjected to inhuman treatment as alleged by lobby groups and family members, who accused police of harassing the suspects and even denying them food.

“There is no humanitarian crisis… we have the necessary facilities to hold those suspects and we have even contracted service providers to provide water and food.”

“But of course those who want to cash on it will create a crisis to raise funds but we assure that we have enough facilities and amenities to take care of those arrested,” he assured.

Police on Sunday recovered a package containing explosive chemicals believed to be used in making Improvised Explosive Devices in Eastleigh 7th street as the continued in earnest.

Nairobi County Police Commander Benson Kibue said the occupant of the room had escaped, but officers found documents showing that he was a Somali refugee registered at the Dadaab camp.

“The chemical is extremely explosive; we ask members of the public to cooperate so that together we can maintain our security,” he said.

Kibue added that police had launched a manhunt for the suspect as they intensified an operation dubbed ‘Usalama Watch’ aimed at flushing out criminal elements from Nairobi following a spate of terror attacks and other incidents.

Eastleigh residents have welcomed the security swoop but urged the government to ensure it only targeted those suspected of involvement in crime without harassing innocent Kenyans.