Somali Christian Refugees in Kenya Face Increasing Persecution

Somali Christian refugees in Kenya continue to face increasing attacks from Somali groups and struggle to receive adequate assistance to survive, according to reports received by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

|PIC1|Reports explain that one Somali Christian refugee, who shall be referred to as A, left Somalia with his family in fear of his life. Since their arrival in Kenya, A's family has repeatedly been threatened by supporters of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

In addition, three of A's children have been abducted by his Muslim relatives, and allegedly returned to Somalia, where it is thought that they may have been forced to enrol in a 'rehabilitation' centre. Two more of his children were abducted, but were rescued when the authorities were pressurised to act.

A is currently recovering from an assault in July that left him comatose, yet this week on 27 September A and his family were attacked again, tells CSW.

Statistics reveal that more than 3,400 Somalis have sought refuge in Kenya in the last three weeks, bringing the tally to almost 25,000 since the beginning of the year.

It appears that as the UIC gains further ground in Somalia, there is a corresponding increase in attacks on Somali Christians in Kenya by UIC supporters. According to local sources, there are "many proxy representatives of the Islamic Shari'ah Courts in Nairobi".

Local sources indicate that the Kenyan office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) may not have provided enough support to Somali Christians. Since the UNHCR's central office in Switzerland takes its lead from the Kenya office, the organisation has been slow in taking effective action.

Tina Lambert, Advocacy Director for CSW says: "Having suffered already in Somalia these Christian refugees face a double tragedy when they encounter further hardship and persecution in Kenya. Their situation is deeply concerning and it is vital that the international community mobilise behind the UNHCR to ensure urgent protection for these Somali refugees and their families."