News24

300 Somali immigrants detained

2010-01-18 11:06

Nairobi - Kenyan police detained 300 illegal Somali immigrants during a sweep that followed a deadly protest at Nairobi's main mosque, a senior official said on Monday.

The raid on the city's Eastleigh neighbourhood was carried out by the elite General Service Unit and anti-terrorism police following claims by the government that Somalia's hardline Islamist Shebab group infiltrated the demonstration.

"Those arrested are in the country illegally, they had no valid documents," a senior police officer said. "They are being detained in various police stations as investigations into their stay in Kenya continue."

On Friday, hundreds of Muslim youths demonstrated after Friday prayers in and around Nairobi's main mosque compound, clashing with police as they demanded the release of a controversial Jamaican imam.

Five people died and several were wounded during running street battles that lasted hours and during which police fired live rounds and tear gas.

"The security operation is part of the investigation going on after Friday's demonstrations by Muslim youths in the city centre," the senior police official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Abdullah al-Faisal, who is on a global terror watchlist and served four years in a British jail for inciting racial hatred, has been in Kenyan custody for more than a week after the authorities tried and failed to deport him.

Kenyan Interior Minister George Saitoti alleged that Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shebab movement was involved in the demonstration.

Kenya's Muslim leadership distanced itself from Al-Faisal, demanding that his deportation be completed.