Kenya targeting Muslims: Somalia's Al-Shabaab
Somalia's Al-Shabab militant group has accused neighboring Kenya of "humiliating and violating the rights" of Muslims and Somali refugees in the name of "fighting terrorism," according to a Tuesday statement by the group.
"Al-Shabaab will not stand silent in the face of [Kenya's] violations against Muslims," read a statement by group spokesman Ali al-Teiri, broadcast on the group's online Andalus Radio.
"Detaining infants and elderly men in the name of fighting terrorism is a heinous act," it added.
The statement comes on the heels of a wide-ranging arrest campaign in which many illegal immigrants have been rounded up by the Kenyan authorities.
The security sweep was launched in response to a recent string of bombings that have targeted Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.
The operation has seen thousands of people detained for screening, mostly thought to be Muslims from the capital's Eastleigh district, which is home to an estimated 50,000 Somali refugees.
Up until last week, at least 3600 people had been detained for screening and interrogation at Nairobi's Kasarani Stadium.
"Those are not terrorists, they have been targeted because they're Muslims," al-Teiri said.
Established in 2004, the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab has since claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Kenya, including last September's West Gate Mall attack, in which at least 67 people were killed.
Al-Shabaab has stepped up its attacks in Kenya since late 2011, when Nairobi deployed troops to support the government in Mogadishu and help it hunt down militants who remain in control of large swathes of the country.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
The country had appeared to inch closer to stability with the recent installation of a new government and the intervention of African Union troops tasked with bringing Al-Shabaab to heel.
Source: Anadolu Agency