Nairobi News


Let us not target one community in crackdown

The Government seems determined to wipe out terrorism in Nairobi and all other parts of the country, if the continuing crackdown in Eastleigh is anything to go by.

Thousands of residents of Eastleigh have been rounded up and detained at the Kasarani stadium, which has now been gazetted as a police station.

Dozens of them have been deported to Somalia after it was discovered during the screening that they were in the country illegally.

Hundreds others are to be prosecuted for various offences while those found to be innocent have been set free.

The Government says the crackdown will go on until the terror threat is eliminated.

Noble as it is, the crackdown has come with its own shortcomings. What was once a thriving city within a city, with numerous malls selling all manner of goods, has suddenly gone quiet, with traders and customers alike keeping away for fear of being caught up in the purge.

A visit to the estate this weekend established that most of the businesses had closed with only two banks operating.

Rents within the estate have fallen as hundreds of tenants move to safer neighbourhoods.

While we appreciate the need to fight terrorism in all its forms, the Government must be careful how it handles this operation.

It may be true that the weapons used by terrorists enter the country through its porous border with war-torn Somalia, but that should not give the security agencies a blank cheque to arrest members of one particular community.

The fact that the majority of those arrested have ended up being charged with offences which have nothing to do with terrorism points at the rather arbitrary, haphazard and uncoordinated manner in which the Government is going about trying to fight terrorism. 

One would have expected the Government was in possession of intelligence giving specific details and locations of terror suspects and their financiers. 

Instead, our security agencies seem to be engaged in a wild goose chase targeting people simply because they happen to belong to a particular community and live in a particular neighbourhood.

We fully support the war against terrorism, but the Government could certainly do a better job of catching the real suspects. We demand nothing less.