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Clergy call for humane police operation in Eastleigh

Christian clergy and the Eastleigh business community have asked the government to be humane in the ongoing crackdown against suspected terrorists and illegal immigrants across the country.

Business in the area, which operates 24 hours a day, has virtually collapsed, with prospective customers afraid to venture into a “war zone”.

“We have experienced a great dip in business since the crackdown started,” said Eastleigh Business Community secretary-general Ahmed Mohammed. He estimated that business was down 75 per cent.

Christian clerics drawn from the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Africa Inland and the Presbyterian churches, asked the government to be mindful of human rights even as it goes about the business of ensuring security for all.

John Cardinal Njue, speaking at a joint press conference at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, commended the security agencies for their efforts to fight crime, but called for respect of the dignity of life during such operations.

“The current operation must not be seen as targeting any religion, tribe or nationality but aimed at fighting terrorism and other forms of crime,” said Cardinal Njue.

In Eastleigh, residents accused police of corruption and oppression. They also decried the damage caused to their businesses.

Mr Omar Adan, 30, said he was walking home from work at around 8pm when he met policemen. He produced his national ID, but the officers said it was a fake, confiscated it and bundled him into a van.

“We were driven around picking up other Somalis until we got to Kariokor. The policeman who had taken my ID asked me how much money I had. I only had Sh2,700 which I surrendered to him. He took it, gave me back my ID and let me go,” he said.

Bisharo Hassan, 23, claimed she would not have required an emergency Caesarian operation had the events of April 8 not happened.

Officers stormed her house on 9th Street and ordered her family out. She was heavily pregnant and could not move. Officers, all of them male, bundled her into the lorry. 

On the radicalisation of Muslim youth, area county assembly member Osman Adow said that 90 per cent of radicalisation takes place on the streets and not in mosques as has been claimed. 

Mr Adow blamed weak immigration controls and corruption at border points for the influx of unregistered migrants into Kenya.

At the Christian leaders’ press conference, PCEA Moderator Rev David Gathanju said the growing wave of terror was as a result of radicalisation of youth and expressed fear that schools may be turned into recruitment grounds by extremists.

Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala asked the government to stamp out corruption which he said was a great contributor to the increased crime in the country.