Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
21 November 2011
Human Rights Watch wants the Kenyan military operation in Somalia against the Al Shabaab militia to avoid injury to innocent civilians.
A letter by the American rights’ watchdog to the minister for defense, Yusuf Haji asked the government to abide by the laws of war and avoid harm to civilians. The letter was dated November 18 was written by Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
The Kenyan forces Spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir, however stated that the Jilib attack only killed the Al Shabaab. But according to HRW a wounded civilian in the attack said she had seen a dark green plane drop one bomb on the camp.
On November 2, PM Raila Odinga publicly promised that there would be investigations into any civilian deaths that occurred as a result of the military operation. “What investigations have the Kenyan armed forces undertaken thus far into possible violations of the laws of war that occurred in the Jilib IDP camp as a result of the military operation?” Bekele asks.
The military operation in Garissa has also been criticized by the Human Rights Watch. It points to possible arbitrary detention and mistreatment of civilian in Garissa near the Somalia border. Military personnel have detained individuals solely on the basis of their Somali appearance, Bekele said.