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Terrorist dragnet: Kenyan police arresting thousands of Somalis

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Human rights groups are concerned over the acceleration of police arrests of Somali nationals over the weekend in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi, according to reports on Monday by news organizations such as the BBC.

The police operation is a direct result of a series of terrorist attacks in the capital, including the deadly attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall, as reported by an Examiner news story.

The police dragnet occurred where the majority of Somali refugees seeking asylum -- from the war between Somalia's government and the al-Qaeda affiliated Al Shabaab terrorist group -- live and where some of the Islamist attacks were perpetrated, according to news reports.

Of the more than half-a-million asylum seekers in Kenya, close to 51,000 live in Nairobi, and are mostly Muslim Somalis while Kenya is a predominately Christian country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

According to Kenyan police, the Somali nationals being detained are jailed at Nairobi police stations and at the city's soccer stadium.

In a recent attack on Kenyan Christians described in an Examiner news story, gunmen believed to be radical Muslims shot and killed at least six worshipers in a Bible-reading church not far from the city of Mombasa on Sunday, according to Joel Pennesky, a counterterrorism expert who monitors Middle East and African terrorist groups.

The UN's High Commissioner said he is seeking Kenya's cooperation in allowing human rights workers to meet with the detained Somali refugees.

UN officials claimed that they understand the concerns of Kenya's government and the security measures in place to protect the Kenyan citizens -- including the family of U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama -- who live in the country including asylum-seekers and refugees.

Without evidence to the contrary, human rights groups are appealing to "the law enforcement agencies to uphold the rights of all those arrested and to treat them in a humane and non-discriminatory manner," according to the BBC.

"Asylum-seekers and refugees are to be protected against arbitrary arrest and detention, including the right to have the reasons for their detention reviewed by a court of law in a timely manner, according to UN officials.

Besides the half-a-million refugees living in Dadaab and more than 100,000 in Kakuma, according to the UN.

Refugees International (RI) group said the government should immediately withdraw the directive."Kenya has signed international conventions that allow freedom of movement for refugees, and Kenya's decision flies in the face of those assurances," the group said in a statement.



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