Britain asks Kenya for evidence on NGO’s terror links
Britain’s government will only stop funding a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Kenya allegedly linked to terrorism if the Kenyan government can provide “credible evidence”, a British envoy said on Thursday.
“We will definitely take action if the Kenyan government gives us credible evidence that Haki Africa is funding terrorism activities in the country,” Stephen Burns, head of communication at the British High Commission in Kenya, told Xinhua.
His remarks came after Kenya’s foreign ministry wrote protest letters to the British, United States (U.S.) and Norwegian governments, asking them to stop funding Haki Africa, a Mombasa- based NGO whose bank accounts had been frozen by the government on suspicion of financing terrorism in the country.
“We take the letter very seriously even though there was no evidence offered,” said Burns.
In the letters, Nairobi noted that the British embassy funded Haki Africa about 115,000 U.S. dollars in the 2013-2014 financial year, and the U.S. has given it more than 30,000 U.S. dollars, according to local reports.
So far, there has been no response from the U.S. and Norwegian governments.
Haki Africa was included in a list of 86 groups and individuals suspected of being affiliated to or associated with terrorism released by the Kenyan government days after the April attack on Garissa University College by Somalia-based Al-Shabaab gunmen that killed almost 150 people.
The human rights group is known for exposing abuses by the security forces against communities in the coastal region and has denied allegations of its terror links.
“We are surprised by the contents of that letter. We have been working closely with the government and therefore this is a shock to us,” local media quoted Hussein Khalid, Haki Africa executive director, as saying.
He claimed that the organization “has been forefront in fighting radicalization in the county.”
The government has been probing into foreign and local bank accounts suspected to support terrorism activities in the country after the Garissa University assault.
Al-Shabaab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since Kenyan troops entered Somalia in 2011 to combat the militants.