Problems in Kenya
NAIROBI, 27 January 2010 (IRIN) – In the year since Mehmoud Hassan arrived in Nairobi from Baidoa in southern Somalia, he says he has been arrested more than 10 times by the Kenyan police and paid more than US$300 in fines to secure his release. His crime, says the 29-year-old former civil society activist, was being a Somali national in a city increasingly hostile to the flood of refugees from the battered Horn of Africa state.
Even this cycle of arrest and release failed to prepare Hassan for his latest encounter with the police. He and his 80-year-old grandmother were among more than 2,000 people – including Somali members of parliament in Nairobi for a meeting – who were rounded up in a week of raids and arrests following a 15 January protest against the detention and subsequent deportation of a radical Islamist cleric by the Kenyan government. Muslim human rights activists claimed five people were killed in the demonstration while the government has limited the official death toll to one.
(c) IRIN 2010, reproduced with permission