Rights groups criticize Kenya putting Muslim groups on Shabaab supporters’ list

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SHAFAQNA – Rights groups criticised Kenya’s government on Tuesday for including two Muslim groups on a list of possible supporters of al Shabaab. Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), which are both headquartered in Mombasa, were included on a list of 86 groups and individuals suspected of being associated with al Shabaab that Kenya released days after the April 2 attack. Kenya has been criticised by security experts and local activists for relying on heavy-handed police tactics in the fight against aggression, including making mass arrests that are blamed for alienating the Muslims instead of engaging them to help intelligence gathering. “Counter-terrorism can only succeed if both civil society and the government work together to counter violent extremism,” 15 civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, said in a joint statement.

“Continuous antagonism of civil society will only aggravate the situation,” it said, adding they were “extremely concerned” about the inclusion of the two groups. Haki Africa, which has mediated talks between radical youths and the government, said it had planned to issue a report next week about dozens of extra-judicial killings that it says were carried out by the authorities, a charge the government denies. Haki’s executive director Hussein Khalid said its assets had been frozen, making it impossible to print the report. “I think most of our work has rubbed the government the wrong way and this is their way of trying to silence us,” said Khalid, who was in Nairobi to meet government officials.

The government formally notified the groups last week that they were suspected of links to al Shabaab, although it said the list had been generated prior to the Garissa attack. A spokesman for President Uhuru Kenyatta did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. The civil society groups also criticised Kenya’s demand to the United Nations that it close in three months the Dadaab refugee camp, where it says Islamist militants are hiding out.

Source : http://www.worldbulletin.net/

 

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