In Nairobi, the Somali residents of Eastleigh, known as “Little Mogadishu” fear a backlash against their community, some are even packing their bags.
Tensions are running high in the Kenyan capital following an attack by Somali-based militant group al Shabaab on the Westgate mall, which killed at least 72 people.
Fouad Abraham, a bus dispatcher from Eastleigh says that so far no one has been harassed by the police, but admits people are worried: “People go home early, and at night. Between 10pm and 11pm the streets are empty. It’s not like before, there is tension because people are afraid of the police.”
The police have been known to launch indiscriminate sweeps in the neighbourhood. The Somali ambassador Mohamed Ali Nur, points out that al-Shabaab is not synonymous with Somalia.
“This is not a Somali issue, a Somali thing, as some media groups said,” he explains, continuing, “This is a terrorist group who killed many Kenyans, other nationalities, including Somalis.”
Nur himself gave blood in the wake of the attack, to show his support for the victims.
Eight people are currently being held in relation to the investigation. Three were released after questioning.
Friday saw the release of new images of the devastation wrought by the attack. There are no formal reports of more missing people, though the Red Cross say many are unaccounted for.