Kenya Riots and Human rights

3 01 2008

Kenya has nearly 100,000 Gujaratis, mostly businessmen, who’ve been there for generations. And as the country continues to be on the boil with people being killed, shops being looted and burnt, the Gujarati diaspora is on the edge.”We are highly concerned, anxiety has touched an all-time high. The poor Indians, mainly Gujaratis, who went there to earn some money doing odd jobs etc, need to be airlifted by Indian government, they want to come back home,” said Jitendra Patel, Businessman, Nairobi.

Many of the Gujaratis are in Kisumi, the town that is one of the worst affected by the clashes. There are reports that Gujarati businesses have been targeted and shops are being burned down. Many of the Indians have been holed up in temples for the past two days and are gradually running out of food.

The clashes, mostly between rival tribes, were triggered after Thursday’s disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

More than 300 people have been killed and an estimated 100,000 displaced during nearly one week of violent unrest following Kibaki’s victory.

Riot police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters on the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The rally has been organised by opposition leader Raila Odinga to protest against the controversial re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. Odinga hopes to attract a million supporters to the rally, which has been banned by the government. As Bernard Smith reports for Al Jazeera, the streets of Nairobi are extremely tense, with fears of violent clashes between protesters and police. Additional reporting comes from Al Jazeera’s correspondent Mohammed Adow who was with the protestors in central Nairobi when they clashed with riot police

Expressing concern over attacks on Gujarati expatriates in Kenya and loss of property following major clashes after presidential elections in that country, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said he has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In his letter, Modi urged the prime minister to ensure their safety and to provide special arrangements to Indians who want to return.