Nairobi News

General

Let us all pull in one direction to save Eastleigh

Eastleigh is by far the most dangerous place to live in Nairobi. Almost every other terrorist attack in the city, apart from the one on Westgate last September takes place in that estate.

This year alone, we have seen at least eight terrorist attacks in the area.

The latest was carried out last Monday when six people were killed. It prompted a massive security operation which saw hundreds of people arrested and locked in police cells.

Another massive security operation was conducted on Saturday, leading to the arrest of more than 500 people.

Reports indicate that the majority of those arrested had no valid IDs and were thus bundled into lorries and taken to refugee camps in Northern Kenya.

As expected, Muslim leaders who have always proclaimed their support for the fight against terrorism condemned the two operations saying they were unfairly targeting their own.

The leader of majority in Parliament, Aden Duale, even threatened to quit the Jubilee Coalition on the grounds that it was unfairly targeting Somalis. 

There were also accusations of security officers using the operation to extort millions of shillings from those arrested before setting them free. 

These are matters which must be investigated because it does not help to arrest suspected criminals, extort money from them and then set them free to go about their operations. 

The least we can expect from our security agencies is to prosecute those they arrest. Anything short of this will not address the insecurity in Eastleigh and Nairobi in general.

The war against insecurity will not be won without the active support and involvement of the local leadership.

While we must hold police to account over the manner in which they conduct these operations, it does not help when the local leadership roundly condemns the police for the sake of political expediency. 

The leaders must realise that terrorism knows no tribe, race or class. The fact that Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan is himself a victim of these attacks in Eastleigh should tell Mr Duale and his ilk that terrorism must be fought on all fronts and with the support of everyone. 

This, however, is not to say the police can unleash brutality on people on the basis of their ethnicity.

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