Kenyan security crackdown sweeps up Somalis

Mass detention of refugees stirs claims of racial profiling.


  1. Kenyan police have arrested some 4,000 people and deported 400 since launching a security operation three weeks ago to remove undocumented immigrants and refugees from urban areas. The arrests have mostly targeted Somalis living in Nairobi's Eastleigh district, known as 'Little Mogadishu.'
  2. Security forces are detaining hundreds at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi. Once screened, they are either released, deported or sent back to a refugee camp. 
  3. Detention at Kasarani Stadium
  4. The sweeping roundup, part of what's called Operation Usalama, is the latest government response to what it says has been an escalation in terrorist attacks. It's not the first time Somalis have been the target of security operations. A similar roundup took place in January 2013. 
  5. Relocation of urban refugees begins on Monday
  6. The bustling marketplace of the mostly Somali Eastleigh district has caught the brunt of Kenya's latest security crackdown. Eastleigh is known as much for its commercial endeavours as its criminal activities. It's become a harbour of extremist elements influenced by the Somali-based Al Shabab. The militant group claimed responsibility for last year's deadly West Gate Mall siege, calling it retaliation for Kenya's military involvement in Somalia. The Kenyan government says Al Shabab is also behind a recent spate of bombings and grenade attacks. 

    Somali-Kenyans are saying they are being racially profiled and targeted as security threats simply because they are ethnically Somali. Some are venting their frustrations on the "Kenya I'm not a terrorist" Tumblr: 
  7. Some Kenyans support the program:
  8. Somali businesses in Eastleigh are known to generate more than $100 million a month. People in the district say the crackdown has hurt business. 
  9. The operation has also uprooted refugees who fled fighting between Al Shabab militants and the government in neighboring Somalia, plus a devastating drought in 2011. Many are being sent north to 
    Dadaab, which is home to more than 400,000 refugees.