English News

Stop targeting the Somalis, says Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has broken his silence on the ongoing mass arrests and incarcerations in Kenya and urged the Jubilee government to halt “the indiscriminate harassment of a particular community.”

Speaking to the Sunday Nation from Buckhead in the US state of Georgia on Friday, Mr Odinga said targeting one community was a violation of human rights and the law of the land.

“I totally empathise with the families affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Likoni and Eastleigh, but the approach the government has taken leaves a lot to be desired. This blanket condemnation of an entire community must stop forthwith,” he said.

Mr Odinga said the government should re-examine its intelligence-gathering mechanisms and act like “a 21st century government.”

maaa_daabulThe Cord leader also took issue with the manner in which the suspects were being handled.


“This reminds one of the Mau Mau days, when the British handled Kenyans in the most brutal and inhumane manner imaginable,” he said.

Mr Odinga was reacting to reports of ongoing mass arrests, mainly of Somalis living in the Eastleigh area, to root out illegal immigrants.

On Thursday, the ODM leader wondered why the government had not yet formed an inquiry into the Westgate Mall attack even after the President promised Kenyans to do so.

“Close to a year after Westgate, the gaps in our security exposed by the attack that killed 70 people and wounded hundreds others have not been closed. The government has inexplicably refused to form an inquiry into how the attackers in Westgate got here,” he said

Ethio-Djiboutian Relations: towards African economic integration

dj3Coming from the uprooted communities in the New World and Europe, the ideology of Pan-Africanism has been triumphant as a libratory force in freeing the people of Africa from the dungeons of European imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. Some posit that Pan-Africanism has succumbed as an integrative force in rejuvenating African countries through regional economic blocs aiming at regenerating the economic and political enterprise of the continent by replacing the colonial and neo-colonial methods.


In this regard, Professor Ali A. Mazuri asserts that Pan-Africanism as a revolt against white domination and damnation of the so-called hopeless continent succeeded by crushing the heels of exploiters with the independence of African nations along with the emancipation of black Diaspora in the New World. He goes on to say that Pan Africanism as an economic integrative force towards the unity of Africa has been kept at bay.


Although the said assertion seems appealing as African countries were vehemently concentrating on political considerations from the dawn of independence until the 1990s, many African countries have been thriving to combine their efforts to reach the apex of interdependence through regional economic communities so as to disengage themselves from dependency, suffering, indignity, hunger, instability, violence and other harrowing realities in every villages of Africa over the past decade. In the mean time, the leadership of Africa attaches special importance to economic considerations not to bend its knees to outsiders. This kind of move is now being reflected in the continent as many African countries are carrying a torch for a call for change-African Reawakening.


Farah faces marathon baptism of fire

mofarahNAIROBI: Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah makes his eagerly-awaited marathon debut in London on Sunday, but has his work cut out with the jump-in distance and competition from top Kenyans and Ethiopians.

Kenya's elite runners say they have little to fear from the newcomer to the distance, predicting a baptism of fire for Farah as he grapples with uncharted racing territory coupled with seasoned marathon veterans setting a punishing pace.

The 32-year-old 5,000 and 10,000m track star spent the better part of the winter training in Kenya's high-altitude Rift Valley region in a bid to raise his game and compete against the world's best.

Leading the elite field is Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who holds the world record after clocking a spectacular 2:03.23 in Berlin last year and has won London in 2012. Observers of the sport see Farah as being capable of running a time of around 2:06.

"It's not going to be easy (for Farah) and he's not likely to win," Kipsang told AFP.

Farah caused a scare last month when he collapsed after the New York City Half Marathon, in which he came in second behind Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai and failed again to break the one hour mark for 21.1km (13.1 miles), something his competitors manage on a regular basis.

Mutai, who regularly trains with Kipsang, will also be racing London and will also be a fearsome competitor having won the New York marathon twice, as well as Berlin and Boston, where he clocked an unofficial world best of 2:03.02.

Still, Mutai said the Somalia-born Farah will be something of a dark horse in the pack.

"He's actually very fit and he will give us a big push in London," Mutai said, adding: "We are ready for his challenge."

Fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, another rival who holds the London marathon course record of 2:04.40, said Farah's only hope would be if the Kenyans and Ethiopians set out at too fast a pace and hit the wall -- repeating what happened a year ago.

"I'm only hoping the runners do not try to break each other down in the fight for the lead during the early part of the race like we did last year, to our own detriment," he said.

Early pace-setting will be provided on Sunday by the legendary Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, who is under instruction to take the athletes through the first 30km at the world record pace.

The elite Ethiopian contingent is also strong: the diminutive but gritty racer Tsegaye Kebede will be there to defend his London title, sub-2:05 runners Ayele Abshero and Tsegaye Mekonnen will be in the pack while 10,000m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan will also be making his marathon debut.


Kenya: 3,000 Arrested After Terror Attacks

bbb_somalida_kenyaAt least 3,000 people were arrested in Kenya during four days of security operations across the country following a wave of terror attacks, officials said Tuesday.

Kenya police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said most of those arrested and held at a sports stadium in the capital have been questioned by security agencies and released, but 447 suspects remain in custody under anti-terrorism laws that allow police to hold suspects longer than 24 hours. He said 69 suspects had been charged in court with various offenses.

Human rights activists have criticized the security operation, which police said was prompted by recent explosions and gun attacks that have killed at least 12 and have been blamed on Somali militant group, al-Shabab. The extremist group has vowed to carry out terror attacks in Kenya in retaliation for Kenya sending its military to Somalia to help fight insurgents.

Rights groups say only Somalis are being targeted, and they are concerned about their treatment. Police denied both allegations.

Activist al-Amin Kimathi said journalists and human rights groups are not being allowed to the stadium where the suspects are being held.

"There is no transparency, it's very opaque, there are no health facilities, and there is a lack of amenities. There is no documentation," he said.

Kimathi warned that the government operation may lead to disaffection between a sector of Kenyans and the state.

"There are fears of sectarian tensions maybe sired by this kind of approach ... Whereas government keeps saying that it's not about religion, the perception is very strong that the government is targeting ethnic Somalis and religion," he said.

Police spokesman Mwinyi denied allegations that certain communities and faiths are being targeted by police, and said the suspects are being kept in humane conditions.

Mwinyi said the aim of the operation is to detect illegal aliens, arrest and prosecute persons suspected of engaging in terrorist activities, identify places harboring criminals, and to contain and prevent general acts of crime and lawlessness


Hollande condemns killing of Europeans working for UN in Somalia

frenchpresidentFrench President Francois Hollande on Monday strongly condemned the killing in central Somalia of a French and a British nationals employed by the UN to fight crime in that country.

The French leader said in a statement that the attack against the UN workers was "a cowardly assassination" of people who were "acting for peace in the name of the international community." Hollande praised the work of the UN personnel all over the world and he said France would stand by the Somali authorities in their fight against terrorism.

The two UN workers, who were active in combating drugs smuggling and related criminality, were shot Monday as they left a plane in the central town of Galkayo, several hundred kilometres from the capital, Mogadishu.


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