Kenya deports 82 Somalis in terror crackdown

2014-04-09 21:36

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Nairobi - Kenya deported more than 80 Somali nationals on Wednesday as part of an ongoing security crackdown by Kenyan authorities following recent terror attacks, Kenya's internal security minister said.

The sweep, which police say has led to the arrests of more than 3 000 people in five days, is being criticised by human rights activists who say it is targeting Somalis and suspects are not being allowed legal counsel. Rights defenders also say the deportations have circumvented the courts.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole-Lenku said those deported were in the country illegally or lacked proper documentation. The deportations were done according to the law and involved the Somali government, Ole-Lenku said.

Somali government spokesperson Abdirahman Omar Osman said the Somalis were voluntarily returning home.

Those sent back to Mogadishu, however, said they had been forced back. Speaking after landing at Mogadishu's seaside airport, Halimo Abdi, a mother of five, said her family was forcefully deported. She and another deportee, Harun Ali, said they were both in Kenya legally and had proper documentation.

"We didn't come here at will but instead at gunpoint and force," said Ali, a Somali businessman who said he spent a week in prison before he was deported. "Our country has improved for good but it's not still safe. I wouldn't blame Kenya for this, but the way they mistreated us was utterly wrong."

Read more on:    kenya  |  west africa
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