Kenyan police are using violence and intimidation to extort money from Somalis trying to flee their war-torn nation and reach the large refugee camps across the Kenyan border.
Kenyan police are using violence and intimidation to extort money from Somalis trying to flee their war-torn nation and reach the large refugee camps across the Kenyan border, a rights watchdog said today.
Since 2007, the fighting took the lives of 21,000 and more than 1.5 million have fled their homes. More than 5,00,000 Somalis have crossed into neighbouring countries, many hoping to reach
But according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report released today, Somalis seeking safety must first get past abusive Kenyan police trying to take what little they have left.
"People fleeing the mayhem in Somalia, the vast majority women and children, are welcomed to Kenya with rape, whippings, beatings, detention, extortion, and summary deportation," said Gerry Simpson, HRW researcher and one of the report's authors.
The report, "Welcome to
"In early 2010 alone, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Somalis unable to pay extortion demands were sent back to
"Police use violence, arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention in inhuman and degrading conditions, threats of deportation, and wrongful prosecution for "unlawful presence" to extort money ... In some cases, police also rape women," the statement said.
HRW said an estimated 40,000 Somalis crossed
"The Kenyan government has formed a committee to investigate the allegations raised (by HRW) and it will soon commence its work," said Owino, who added that the Kenyan government was already handling the largest number of refugees in the region.