Kenyan Somalis facing Xenophobia
Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:33AM
Alifya Noorani, Press TV, Nairobi
27-year-old Yusuf Abdi a Kenyan Somali is a business man. What he imports are mainly from Ethiopia and Turkey. However, the ongoing Kenyan military incursion into Somalia, has adversely affected Yusuf's shop which is based in Eastleigh- a Somali enclave popularly known as little Mogadishu in Nairobi.
Yusuf is one among Kenya's 2.3 million ethnic Somalis according to the country's latest census. There are a million Somali nationals living as refugees. In Kenya's 48 years of independence, ethnic Somalis have reportedly suffered marginalization and negative perception largely persecuted by successive governments.
The current incursion of Kenyan troops in Somalia, seems to have fuelled refreshed negative perceptions of Somalis and fears are rife it could lead to xenophobia.
Government indications that screening of Somalis for ties to al-Shabaab and deployment of bolstered numbers of police officers in Eastleigh, have not helped get rid of the perceptions. The police usually harass residents without regard to their status as citizens or legal refugees under International Law. The Kenyan military only give scheduled briefs and restricts itself only to the subject matter it would want disseminated
East Leigh has the largest Somali settlements in Kenya and in the capital Nairobi. Every time there is a security linked operation in Somalia, businesses and residential areas bear the brunt of an intensified security crackdown".
In the mean time, the chairman of Kenya's National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Mzalendo Kibunja has said that this hate propaganda is made through social media, broadcasts and SMS text messages and could lead to xenophobic attacks.
Kenyans are finding themselves forced to review how they relate to one another, by a war that started as suddenly as the circumstances they find themselves in, have come upon them.