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A popular Somali band has been forced to
seek asylum in the Netherlands after Kenya
revoked its refugee status, its lead singer
has told the Falis Abdi Mohamud said Kenyan officials
seized her refugee card and that of four
other band members when they flew out of
Nairobi last month.
The band – famous for singing against
Islamic extremism – was due to return on 11
October after performing at a peace concert
in Amsterdam.
Kenya has not commented on their case.
Its government has been cracking down on
Somali refugees and immigrants, accusing
them of harbouring fighters from militant
Islamist group al-Shabab.
‘Children left behind’
The group is fighting to create an Islamic
state in Somalia, and has also carried out a
series of attacks in neighbouring Kenya.
Al-Shabab controls many rural areas in
Somalia
The BBC Somali Service’s Abdirahman
Koronto says it is ironic that the band,
Waayaha Cusub (The New Dawn), appears to
have been targeted by Kenyan immigration
authorities.
The band gained popularity for denouncing
al-Shabab though its songs and one of its
members, Shine Akhyar, was shot and
wounded by suspected militants in Nairobi
in 2007, he says.
Mrs Mohamud told the BBC Somali Service
that she wanted to return to Kenya, where
she had lived for more than a decade,
because her three children were there.
However, she was scared of being deported
to Somalia, she said.
“They [Kenyan immigration officials] told
me if I return they will put me on a plane to
Mogadishu,” Mrs Mohamud added.
The Netherlands was now considering their
request for asylum, she said.
Somalia has been hit by instability since the
overthrow of long-serving ruler Siad Barre
in 1991.
African Union and government forces have
driven out al-Shabab from its urban
strongholds, but the group still controls
large swathes of territory in rural areas.( BBC

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