Somalis in Nairobi Fear Terror Backlash



Despite their widespread opposition to al Shabaab, the focus has fallen on members of the Somali community in Kenya’s capital.

Somalilandsun – Somalis living in Nairobi say they fear being targeted by Kenyans who blame them for the shopping centre massacre that left at least 67 people dead.

The Eastleigh area of the capital city is home to many from Somalia, the country where al Shabaab, the terror group thought to be behind the attack, is based.

Ahmed Mohammed, a security consultant in the area, said there were major concerns about a backlash against the community.

“People are worried about people coming and looting their businesses and they are also worried about authorities coming and doing a crackdown on Somalis,” he told Sky News.

“Basically, when things like this happen, Somalis are the victims.”

Poverty and unemployment make Eastleigh a fertile recruiting ground for al Shabaab.

Those who have glimpsed inside the organisation and witnessed its brutality are terrified of being hunted down for leaving or speaking out.

One man, who asked to remain anonymous, explained why.

“What I am scared about is that Al Shabaab are beasts, they are not human beings,” he said.

“If they see my face … they will try to kill me. I have seen so many friends of mine who have been killed by al Shabaab.”

Somali immigrant Farah Atosh, 25, has countless friends who have been recruited or approached by al Shabaab, but is determined to counter the terror group’s propaganda.

“We are against them,” he said.

“We are not supporting them. You might see or hear some people saying al Shabaab will not be able to carry out those attacks without the support of the Somali diaspora but honestly that is false information.”

Many people who fled Somalia hoped they would find sanctuary and those who created new lives in Kenya want al Shabaab hounded out

One of them is Karim Muse, who told Sky News: “I would like to go to Somalia but (while) the al Shabaab are … in Somalia, I don’t want to go back.

“They have destroyed Somalia’s people. They don’t like Somalis, don’t like other Christians, they don’t like anyone, only themselves. Al Shabaab, they are cancer in the world.”

It comes as forensic investigators continue to search the ruins of Westgate Mall – and after it emerged a sixth Briton had been confirmed dead following the attack.

Meanwhile, around 200 Nairobi residents, many of them of Indian descent, held a candlelit vigil on Saturday evening for victims the massacre.