Somalia diplomat arrested during swoop

 Mohamed Osman


Kenya: A top diplomat at the Somali Embassy in Nairobi was among people who were at the weekend arrested in a police swoop in Lavington, Nairobi. The Consular general of the Somali Embassy in Kenya, Siyad Mohamud Shire, was arrested by police on Friday but was later on released after interrogation.

It is not clear why he was arrested from his home. He was detained for several hours, which angered Mogadishu. Somalia Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari was quoted saying Kenya’s attitude violated all international conventions.

“The fact is that (the) Kenyan authorities have behaved atrociously with the Somali diplomat. He even showed the police his identity as a diplomat but still they didn’t respect him. These provocative and unlawful acts are not acceptable to this Parliament and are not acceptable to the Somali people. They cannot be ignored,” said the Somali Speaker.

“We will not accept such intolerable attacks by Kenyan security on our diplomatic mission. I urge the Cabinet to send an urgent complaint letter to Kenya and ask why their forces have done such barbaric raid and arrest of the Somali consular,” he added.

Shire was released on Friday evening after marathon efforts by the country’s ambassador Mohamed Ali Nur. His phone was switched off on Sunday and he could not explain the reason for Shire’s detention by anti-terror police.

For the past weeks Kenya police have arrested nearly 4,000 Somalis during a widespread police swoop. About 200 of them were sent back home, while others are in detention.

Terror incidents

This is the second time that a diplomat at the embassy is being held. In January Ilyas Yusuf Warsame, a secretary, was arrested over terror related incidents.

He alongside Hassan Abdi Mohamed, Mohamed Osman Ali and Garad Hassan Fer were later charged in court with a failed terror attack at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

 They are still in custody over the attack.

At the weekend, police arrested more than 100 foreigners  in Nairobi alone. Some of them will be deported while others will be taken back to refugee camps.

The officers are targeting individuals who are in the country without valid documents, those who were outside the precincts of legally gazetted areas and those who have forged documents.

The Government says the aim of the operation is to arrest and prosecute persons suspected of engaging in terrorist activities, identify places harbouring criminals and contain and prevent general acts of crime and lawlessness. Police say they are targeting all foreigners.