Rioters attack ethnic Somalis in Kenyan capital
[Reuters] Kenyan police fired tear gas to disperse rioters who attacked ethnic Somalis in the Nairobi district known as "Little Mogadishu" on Monday, hurling rocks and smashing windows after a weekend kaboom there killed nine people.
The violence coincided with the start of voter registration for a general election in March, adding to security concerns ahead of the first national polls since 2007 when a dispute over the results fuelled ethnic slaughter that killed more than 1,200 people and forced some 300,000 from their homes.
Angry mobs broke into Somali homes and shops in anger at Sunday's attack on a minibus which killed at least nine people in Nairobi's Eastleigh district which is dominated by Somali Kenyans and their ethnic kin who have fled fighting in Somalia.
Ethnic Somalis, some armed with machetes, fought back and hurled rocks at their attackers who responded with sling shots and stones. Paramilitary police fired volleys of teargas to prise the battling factions apart.
"We are trying to create a buffer zone so that people cannot cross over," Nairobi regional police commander Moses Ombati told news hounds, pointing to a road that he said formed a rough boundary between the two communities.
"These people are neighbors and business partners who need each other, so I don't think it will last long," he said.
Gangs of looters ran amok as the security forces fought to quell the violence. One Somali trader, who gave her name only as Hamdi for fear of reprisal attacks, said she was worried the unrest would spread throughout Eastleigh's rundown estates.
"I condemn anyone who carried out this heinous act," she said, referring to Sunday's kaboom. "It's affecting many innocent civilians and is causing the Somali community to be targeted."
Authorities have blamed Somali bully boyz and their sympathizers for grenade and gun attacks in Kenya since Nairobi sent soldiers into neighboring Somalia last year to drive out al-Shabaab
... the personification of Somali state failure...
rebels, an Islamist group with links to al Qaeda.
Attacks have intensified since Kenyan forces, fighting under an African Union
...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful...
banner, and Somali government troops routed al-Shabaab from their last major urban bastion, the Somali port of Kismayu last month and forced the rebels to flee.
Two Kenyan soldiers were rubbed out in the eastern town of Garissa, which is a rear base for Kenya troops fighting in Somalia as part of the regional African Union force.
Posted by: Fred