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Nairobi cleric warns of violent protests in Eastleigh ahead of maritime verdict

Tuesday October 12, 2021

Residents from Eastleigh, a Somali-enclave within Nairobi, worry protestors will descend on their neighbourhood following the maritime verdict. FILE

Nairobi (HOL) - Ahead of the much-awaited verdict by the International Court of Justice on the maritime case between Kenya and Somalia, a Somali cleric in Nairobi has warned of possible violent protests in the city's Eastleigh estate.

Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Shakul, who is also a member of the Eastleigh chamber of commerce, told HOL they had received information two factions of Somali youth will be staging protests amid fears of a clash.

"The fear was sparked by reports that some Somalis in Eastleigh would be celebrating if the Somali maritime case is delivered while there are others who oppose it," said Sheikh Mohamed Shakul.

Sheikh Shakul expressed concern that the protests could be carried out by gangs or hundreds of people in the Mathare slum near the Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh.

"Certainly, we must be wary of any reaction to the Court's decision in terms of life and property. There are gangs in Eastleigh's slums who can take advantage of any unrest, as well as abuse our women or burning houses. Even the police can loot people we do not trust," added Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Shakul.

Somali clerics in Nairobi's Eastleigh neighbourhood have been urging mosques and media outlets to prevent violent protests by Somali youths, following the expected landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Several businesses said they considered closing shop in the afternoon due to fear of being raided and their valuables looted.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) also asked Somali nationals not to celebrate the much-awaited ruling over the Kenya- Somalia maritime border by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Supkem's Northeastern regional coordinator Adan Yunis said Somali nationals in Kenya should refrain from open celebration because it may lead to problems diplomatically between the two countries.

"I ask the Somali nationals not to be excited just in case the ruling goes against Kenya. This might lead to unnecessary tension in the country they have called home for decades," he said.

Yunis's comments come as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced rejecting the Hague-based Court's jurisdiction.

The international court will be delivering its verdict from The Hague in the Netherlands at 3 pm local time.


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