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Mandera residents decry harassment by security agencies in ongoing crackdown

By NJ Correspondent:

Police at the scene of Mandera explosion on Thursday morning.

Police at the scene of a previous Mandera attack. A multi agency security operation has managed to curb such attacks in the recent past. Local residents however complain of high handedness on the part of security officers.

Residents of Kenya’s North Eastern County of Mandera have decried arbitrary arrests by security agencies in the wake of increased crackdown to flush out criminals in the town following recent terror attacks including the most recent one targeting Bisharo Guest House that left 12 people dead most of them non-locals a month ago.

Locals are now accusing security agencies of highhandedness in the wake of crackdowns and daily operations that concurrently run with a three-month dawn to dusk curfew imposed by the government to arrest the escalating insecurity.

Abdi Abdikadir, aged 75, told Nep Journal that security forces park their vehicles in main business centers and arrest people anyhowly way before the curfew hours.

He said has recently witnessed up to 100 people majority of them women being arrested for no reasons despite having their identification cards with them.

“In as much as we support the crackdown against Al shabaab sympathizers, we will not condone attempts to infringe on our rights, imagine someone being arrested and released on a cash bail of Kshs 20,000 without committing any offense” wondered Abdikadir.

Business people are on their side counting losses as most residents remain indoors most of the time since security crackdowns are done even during the day.

This has also forced local residents, most of them of them Muslims to say three of their five prayers at home instead of at mosques as recommended.

According to residents, security agencies have warned women against wearing of veils for ease of identification.

Local security chiefs denied any wrong doing by security forces saying the crackdowns are meant to apprehend only members of Al shabaab and their sympathizers.

But even as residents complain, security has improved in the border town after the government implemented a raft of measures aimed at saving the situation following a series of attacks blamed on the Somalia based terror group Al Shabaab.



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