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Uneasy calm in Eastleigh as families worry about kin

An uneasy calm has returned to Eastleigh as traders and residents try to resume normal life after two weeks of living in a near police state.

A spot check showed that residents and businessmen are buoyed by an optimism of a quick recovery from the economic and social clampdown experienced during the Operation Usalama Watch.

The operation was characterised by endless door-to-door police swoops meant to flush out illegal immigrants and suspected terrorist cells.

Residents now say they will intensify the Nyumba Kumi security initiative to ensure that everyone is accounted for in the estate. The agony of another crackdown, they say, is too much to bear. 

“We have managed to vet almost ten street-blocks in our Nyumba Kumi programme. We will cooperate with the Government and make sure lasting peace is realised,” said Eastleigh Residents Association Chairman, Hussein Roba.

He said the operation had left residents fearful of police officers.

Deportations 

Although some traders talked of a return to normalcy, a section of residents said they were uncertain about the fate of their families. Breadwinners have either been deported to Somalia or have been transferred to refugee camps located in far-off  border points.

Ms Aisha Abbas, a minor,  said life had become harder after her mother Ms Haredo Mohamed was moved to Kakuma Refugee camp in the northern part of Kenya.

Ms Bisharah Ibrahim, a mother of two said the operation has ushered in an economic nightmare in her home. Her husband, the sole breadwinner was missing.

“As we speak, I am not sure where he is. Since April 6, he has been arrested four times by the police and released despite producing documents indicating he is a registered urban refugee,” said Ms Ibrahim.

She said Abdikadir Ali came to Nairobi eight years ago and was sustaining the family through proceeds from his cushion-making business.