By Suleiman Hassan.
Just last night, six people died and many more sustained injuries in a twin explosion in Eastleigh. A week earlier, it was in a church in Likoni area of Mombasa. As usual the government promised investigations and action but nothing tangible has came out apart from arbitrary arrests for ‘loitering’ and on other flimsy grounds such as inability to speak Kiswahili.
As Kenyans die day- in-day-out as a result of terror attacks, I am amazed at how they are foolishly being allowing to be taken for a ride by those who are supposed to protect them.
Our security agencies are always reactive to these attacks and despite the much hyped heightened security in the country terrorists continue to strike at will.
It is also very shameful that no one is sacked or takes responsibility and resigns for sleeping on the job. The kind of directives coming from those entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our lives is wanting yet they talk and operate as if they are performing their duties diligently.
Whenever such incidents happen, the Government’s response has been a predetermined one. Pointing an accusing finger at Al-Shabaab and blaming them for every incident of a blast, with or without evidence and threatening innocent refugees with repatriation.
Issuing a blanket condemnation against a community is equally as dangerous as terrorism. Kenyans are made to believe that terror activities are fanned by Somalis and Muslims and this can precipitate xenophobic attacks and ethnic profiling as witnessed before.
More often than not, Somali and Muslim leaders and scholars have come out clearly that they don’t support such activities and neither does their religion. However, I have not seen a single leader trying to clear the good name of Somalis and Islam by clearly warning others against associating terrorism with us.
Recently, President Uhuru met Somali business leaders from Eastleigh, The meeting was also attended by elected Somali leaders led by Leader of Majority and Garissa township M.P. Hon. Duale, Garissa Senator Hon. Yussuf Haji and Kamakuji M.P. Hon. Yussuf Hassan. Here, Mr. Duale said that despite the fact that the president has appointed a lot of Somalis to senior positions in his government, we have rewarded him by undertaking terror activities. This was a reckless statement that implied all Somalis support or take part in terror activities which of course is not the case.
I think Hon. Duale would have taken that opportunity to demand a distancing of terrorism from Somalis and Muslims and squarely blame it on failure by the Government. His argument was that terrorists arrested in Mombasa had Kenyan IDs issued in Wajir. Who issues the IDs? Somalis don’t issue them and neither do Muslims, the corrupt officials who sold their country for thousands of shillings are to blame.
The terrorists held in Mombasa allegedly entered Kenya from Mandera and Garissa and traveled all the way to Mombasa as allegedly tracked by the FBI. Where were our security agencies when FBI was doing the work of tracking terrorists entering and moving inside our country? There are hundreds of roadblocks from Mandera to Mombasa and those manning them take their ‘fifty bob’ and allow free passage. Why are we not seeing any one blaming them? Let us hit the nail on the head, Somalis don’t man road blocks or guard our borders.
In Kenya we have terrorist organizations such as Mungiki that cause havoc on innocent civilians. As we know, members of this sect are predominantly Kikuyus. Just like the way you cannot tell me all Kikuyus are ‘Mungikis’, all Somalis are not terrorist or members of Al-shabaab. In fact Al-Shabaab is a multinational terrorist group and its membership is Multi-ethnic. Therefore, I don’t see any reason why our names should be tarnished just because a few from our community are bad.
How can a government handle security if it has a standard approach to every incident? Just where did the investigative arms of our security forces disappear? And regrettably no one gets fired for the security lapses destroying the nation! Then you want me to believe that innocent refugees are responsible. Refugees were there for all those years and they are also facing the wrath Al-shabaab both in the camps and back at home. They are confined to refugee status because of the activities of the likes of Al-shabaab.
Somalis and Muslims feel targeted because of the double standards exhibited in the war on terror. There is a general feeling that blame is not laid on those responsible and innocent people are harassed instead. For example, Immediately after the attacks last night, Kenyan security agencies embarked on an operation to look for the suspects. As usual, such incidents act as sufficient evidence to conduct a brutal search without legal warrants and serves as a go ahead to violate the rights of Somalis.
There are reports that security agencies carried out indiscriminate arrests and robbed those at their mercy of any valuables they carried. This equally amounts to terrorism and must be fought with equal measure.
Terrorism affects us all. I am a Muslim and my religion does not allow the killing of innocent lives. I don’t support terrorism. Equally I don’t support the harassment of innocent people in the name of fighting terror. Our security agencies should direct their energies to where it deserves!
We should know who is carrying out this attacks and why. We must see police investigate and bring to book people behind these heinous acts without harassing innocent people.
If we are serious about fighting terror, people who sleep on the job must resign or face the sack and our security agencies must change their modus operandi.
Have a terror free day!
Mr. Hassan is the Publisher, Nepjournal.com