Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Concern over mass arrests of Somali refugees

08 April 2014, 14:34

Nairobi - The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR on Monday expressed concern over a wave of arrests of Somali refugees during the weekend in Nairobi.

More than 1 000 Somalis are being held by Kenyan police in a soccer stadium, reports said. The refugees were arrested in a week-long sweep through Nairobi's Eastleigh neighbourhood, which has a large Somali population, in what police say is part of a security operation to rout out terrorists.

The UNHCR, which has not been granted access to the Kasarani stadium, said that "asylum seekers and refugees are to be protected against arbitrary arrest and detention".

A photo circulating on Kenyan social media showed dozens of Somalis held in a cage-like structure. Rumours swirl in the Somali community about lack of food, water and medicine in the stadium.

 Refugees infected with tuberculosis were allowed to leave. Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said more than 4 000 people have been arrested.

The mass arrests are part of a crackdown on Somalis suspected of belonging to or sympathizing with the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab following two attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa that killed 12 people more than a week ago.


Hundreds of paramilitary police have manned checkpoints and conducted door-to-door searches in Eastleigh. Police said they have discovered a roadside bomb, bomb-making materials in an apartment and arrested a couple in possession of grenades.

The Kenyan government has long maintained that Somalis are harbouring terrorists, and has twice ordered refugees in Nairobi to move to camps in the country's north. A Kenyan court rejected the order as illegal.

 A correspondent witnessed police chasing ethnic Somalis with sticks in Eastleigh. In one apartment building, doors were broken down.

Residents said police smashed them open after the occupants refused to open them. A woman in that building displayed a bruise on her shoulder she said was inflicted by police as they ransacked the apartment in search of bomb-making materials. Eastleigh residents also complain that anyone of Somali ethnicity - refugees or Kenyan citizens - are targeted by police for bribes.

 One woman said police demanded more than $300 to release her relative. There are more than 500 000 Somali refugees living in Kenya, including 50 000 in Nairobi.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?