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Police blamed for harrasing pastoralists

22 February 2012, 16:40 Alloys Musyoka

Pastoralist’s community at Koreni village in Lamu County is up in arms against what they have termed as harassment and discrimination by police in the height of operations.

The community complained that police officers were harassing them on their daily night’s operations mainly targeting pastoralist’s communities in the area which the said amounts to discrimination and defiling of people’ constitutional rights.

Their spokesperson Mr. Kalmeni Mohamed a village elder told journalists that general Service Unit (GSU) arrives daily at their Manyata at night and start harassing them.

“They have been coming here everyday and order every one to produce his or her identification card. It has been everyday operation and only to us.  As pastoralist’s community we feel that it is as if we are not in our home country while we are Kenyans like any other Kenyans,” he quipped.

He said already five people have been arrested during the operations from their homes and wondered what was happening to them as they were being harassed and arrested as if they were not Kenyans.

“We think police officers are discriminating us because we look like Somali but the government should intervene as every ones knows that we are Kenyans. Any discrimination and harassment by police amounts to infringing our constitutional rights as Kenyans,” he lamented.

The government has however dismissed of harassing pastoralist’s community but admitted that five people have arrested during the operations in the area.

Deputy police chief in Lamu district Mr. Joseph Sigei said the government was not targeting the pastoralists community as perceived during their recent raids at their homes ”Manyattas).

He said the operation was normal one aiming to arrest non-Kenyans who might have ran away from war ton areas of Somali where Kenya Defense Force is fighting insurgents.

“That was just a normal night operation by police officers due to increase of visitors in the area who are suspected to be running away from the war ton region of Somali. We all know what is going on the other side of our country by our military officers,” he noted.

He said the village is among those which many out comers stay and that they had suspected Somali refugees may have found way to the area.

The deputy police boss has however urged locals residing at the village to report any case of suspicious people to police.

“We urge locals to be vigilant and report any cases of people they feel are new in the area so that we can arrest them and interrogate because we fear that Somalia refugees may find way to the region,” urged Mr. Sigei.

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