Kenya police raid Islamic school, arresting teachers

By on December 20, 2017
Kenya. Soldats

Kenyan police raided an Islamic school on Tuesday, arresting two teachers and taking around 100 children into protective custodyin what police described as a counter-terrorism operation involving foreign law-enforcement agencies.

Armed police yesterday picked 95 children from a Madrassa in Likoni, Mombasa County, in connection with a child trafficking investigation. Police suspect the children are victims of a child trafficking syndicate spanning several nations and two continents.

Police described the school in Likoni, south of the port city of Mombasa, as a centre for indoctrinating young men and children with militant ideology.
Kenyan police declined to divulge any information on the raid but Muslim leaders claimed that white men – possibly foreigners, were involved. Among the 95 children, 20 are said to be foreigners but their country of origin could not be immediately established. However, reports indicate some were from Zimbabwe.
“The place has been monitored for a long time,” said a police source who asked not to be named.

The bewildered children and teachers scampered for cover but the detectives moved with speed and bundled them into waiting vehicles, which sped towards the Likoni ferry. Yesterday, police sources privy to the raid said FBI officers had taken away the children for further investigations.

Kenya is mostly Christian but has a large Islamic population. It is relatively free from religious tension, although it has suffered repeated deadly attacks from Somali Islamist extremists.

“A group of local and foreign police officers raided the madrasa (Islamic school) where the pupils were sleeping and took them with their teachers,” Sheikh Hassan Omar, a senior official in the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), an umbrella body for Kenya’s religious leaders, told journalists in Mombasa.

“There are nearly 100 pupils and four madrasa teachers who have been arrested and detained at police headquarters and nobody is telling us what crime they have committed.” CIPK Treasurer Sheikh Hassan Omar said the raid was uncalled for since the institution was operating legally. “I visited the Madrasa two weeks ago and I found it neat and operating in accordance with safety standards. The environment is very conducive. It teaches the Quran and nothing sinister takes place there,” Mr Omar said.

It was not immediately clear why the police and CIPK gave different totals for the number of teachers arrested.

Omar said the officers asked for identification documents, including birth certificates from the children, and their teachers before they took them.

“We have been assisted by some friends from outside with information and monitoring of this madrasa. That is normal with such cross-border criminal issues,” said another senior police officer, who also asked not to be named. He did say which foreign country was involved in the raid.

“We are calling for unconditional release of all the children and teachers arrested since they have not violated any law. We are asking President (Uhuru) Kenyatta to intervene,” Mister Omar said.

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