Kenyan Muslims Decry Injustice
NAIROBI – Amid continued disappearances of Kenyan Muslims men, their community is pointing figures at the security forces that arrest many without charges, under the pretext of countering radicalism.
“They forced me into the car. I shouted for help but they drew their guns and threatened to shoot me, saying they are police,” Abdel Nasser Nashu, a Kenyan-Arab businessman who went missing for more than two weeks, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday, October 10.
“I was interrogated for days on whether I had links with any terror groups. I was taken to different stations for three weeks, but was later released.
“[I] am thankful to God that I am alive, although I was tortured and was shaken by the experience.”
Nashu was recounting how he was abducted near his home in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by four men in an unregistered vehicle at the evening of June 30, 2015.
The 38-year-old businessman is one of at least 60 Muslims, aged between 17 and 40, who have been reported missing in the East African country since the start of 2015, according to an investigation by Anadolu Agency.
A social media campaign, using the hashtag #WhereIsNashu, has exposed injustice faced by Muslims at the hands of Kenyan security, pressing authorities to free Nashu.
Muslim-majority areas like Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Nairobi and Mombasa are most affected by the security crackdown.
According to the Muslim Human Rights MUHURI Human, missing people were abducted by eitherthe Anti-Terror Police, Kenya Defense Forces or the Kenya Wildlife Service officers.
“The records we have show the victims of extrajudicial killings range from high school students to clerics and university students to businessmen,” Abdirahman Issaq, an activist with the MUHURI human rights group, said.
Citing several cases of abduction, torture and extrajudicial killing, Muslims believe that law enforcers themselves have turned into terrorists.
“We are aware that the ATPU has a list of youth it claims are radicalized. Some [on this list] are high-school students. Some [of these students] have chosen to flee [and go] into exile out of fear. The police have now become terrorists,” Halimow Abdi, a parent visiting the Maina Wanjigi Secondary School where two of the three slain boys studied, said.
Moreover, suspects are forced to flee the country, abandoning education and live in exile.
“Last year, one of our brightest students missed his final national exams. He fled to his home county fearing for his life. Police have been investigating the school and allege that it is a center of radicalization,” a staff member, who insisted on being anonymous, said.
On his part, Willis Omuse, a security analyst and former police boss of Mombasa county, said: “This is not the way to deal with radicalization in Kenya. Instead these killings are forcing more youth to become radicalized and the Muslim community feels more marginalized.”
There are nearly ten million Muslims in Kenya, which has a population of 36 million.
Kenya Muslims have been sensing eradication of their rights after their country was involved in the so-called war on terrorism in East Africa.
Supported by UK and US, Kenya’s anti-terror police have been accused of targeting innocent Muslims with arbitrary arrests and disappearances.
Muslims problems increased following Westgate mall attack in which 67 people were killed, in September 2013, the attack which was claimed by Somalia’s militant al Shabaab group.
There is a long list of Muslim disappearances has been left unsolved up to date.