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Africa

2012-11-21

AFRICA/KENYA - No more shooting in Garissa, but the population is irritated by the violence on behalf of the army

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "No more shooting, but tensions remain high because people are irritated by the way the army intervened. Some military patrols have been the object of throwing stones on behalf of the inhabitants. We hope that soon tension calms down, " says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Paul Darmanin, Bishop of Garissa, in eastern Kenya, on the border with Somalia, yesterday at the center of fighting between the Kenyan army and an armed group responsible for an attack that caused the death of three soldiers (see Fides 20/11/2012). It is assumed that the perpetrators of the attack are related to the Somali Shabaab.
"Now one can leave the house, in fact at the moment I am coming from a parish outside Garissa where I had to go on Sunday, November 18 to administer Confirmation, but then I was forced to give up due to the fighting," explains the Bishop.
According to witnessese, the Kenyan military seem to have shot at random against the people of Garissa, who are mostly Somalis. The market of the town was burned by the military. An army spokesman, however, denied that the army is guilty of these crimes.
A former deputy of the region said that Kenyans of Somali ethnicity are viewed with suspicion by the security forces and the Somali population because they are considered potential supporters of the Shabaab, against which the Kenyan army is conducting a military operation in southern Somalia. The approach of the presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2013 increases the risk of a political use of social and ethnic tensions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/11/2012)

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