Five Pakistanis arrested in Kisumu on suspicion of links with terror groups have been transferred to Nairobi for interrogation.

Anti-Terror Police Unit and their DCI counterparts made the arrests on Saturday and Sunday.

Kisumu county police boss Samuel Anampiu told reporters the suspects will be interrogated to ascertain their mission in the country.

On Saturday, two of the suspects were apprehended at the Kisian area in Kisumu West subcounty. Others were arrested at the Ahero junction.

"Today again, along Kisumu-Ahero road, we had an operation and we managed to arrest three more aliens bringing the number to five so far," Anampiu said on Sunday.

He appealed to the public to share information that could help the police apprehend any suspicious persons in their midst.

"Let us feel free to give the police as much information as possible," he said. 

"There should be no cause for alarm as we are on the ground firmly, alert and vigilant."

Hundreds of motorists were caught up in the operation that caused a huge traffic snarl-up on the Kericho-Kisumu highway.

The arrests come as preparation to host the June 1 Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu gathers pace.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are expected to attend the fête. 

The event will be held at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu located at Mamboleo show ground.

Over the weekend, Sports CS Amina Mohamed said the Sh415 million facility will be completed by this week.

"The contractor assured that the stadium will be completed by 15th May and ready for handover on 23rd May," she said on Twitter. 

Amina's visit comes a week after Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said that preparations for celebrations in Kisumu were in top gear.

Kibicho was accompanied on his tour by PS Jerome Ochieng (ICT), Joe Okudo (Sports), Gordon Kihalangwa (Public Works) and Governor Anyang Nyong’o.

“We are satisfied with the ongoing preparations and we have assured that the construction works will be complete by then,” he said.

This is the first time Kisumu will host a national celebration day which is expected to spur economic activities in hotel and transport sector.

Kibicho said that they will observe Covid-19 protocols by restricting access to the stadium to invited guests.

He said Kenyans will follow the celebrations virtually.

“We will have live celebrations and have various points where Kenyans will access to follow the celebrations,” the PS said.

Already, works on Mamboleo Road are ongoing ahead of the event. It is part of the 63km Mamboleo-Miwani-Chemelil-Muhoroni-Kipsitet road being tarmacked at a cost of Sh4.9 billion. - Faith Matete, The Star

Photo Courtesy Soca News 

 

By JULIUS MBALUTO 

 

A Kenyan-British Rehema Muthamia has earned a place in the Miss England final after she won the ‘Miss All African Colours category’ 2021. The beauty contest was set up after ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in the UK.

Rehema Muthamia got into the competition to celebrate racial diversity and raise funds for Women’s Aid. She also campaigns against domestic violence which she says she was a victim to. Rehema told The Argus Newspaper:

 "I thought I could use the platform to reach out to women that I know or those who would identify with me and let them know that you can experience it but still come out the other side and still thrive."

The 24- year Rehema graduated with a Masters Degree in genetics. She speaks four languages mand was born in the UK to Kenyan parents. Rehema beat 8 other contestants to win ‘Miss All African Colours ‘category within Miss England Competition.

Miss All African Colours was introduced by the Director of Miss England Angie Beasley. She shared that the new category was to highlight that the pageant is open to contestants from all communities.

The contestants were graduate Rehema Muthamia, 24, Afoluke Adedapo, 27, who is an accountant, Aminata Sow, 23, a graduate advisor, paralegal Anglee Kumar, 25, Frankie Stewart, 20, Moshida Khalifah, 24, who is a private care clerk, Paige Ashton, 25, who is a senior analyst and singer Zara-Lucy Whitehead, 22. 

Rehema the winner will receive a place in the Miss England national pageant as well as become the face of luxury handbag brand, All African Colours.

 

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Photo / AP

 
Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets from Gaza and Israel unleashed new air strikes against them today in an escalation triggered by soaring tensions in Jerusalem and days of clashes at an iconic mosque in the holy city.

Twenty-four people, including nine children, were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in Israeli strikes. More than 700 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and across the West Bank in 24 hours, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals. The Israeli military said six Israeli civilians were hurt by rocket fire this morning.

This round of violence, like previous ones, was fuelled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The rival national and religious narratives of Israelis and Palestinians are rooted in the city, making it the emotional core of their long conflict.

In recent weeks, tension has been soaring in Jerusalem, marked by clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in the walled Old City, located in east Jerusalem which Israel captured and annexed in the 1967 war.

 
Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Photo / AP
Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Photo / AP
One of the flashpoints in the Old City has been the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest site of Judaism. Another driver of Palestinian anger has been the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from homes in an east Jerusalem neighbourhood by Israeli settlers.

Monday was a long day of anger and deadly violence, laying bare Jerusalem's deep divisions, even as Israel tried to celebrate its capture of the city's eastern sector and its sensitive holy sites more than half a century ago. With dozens of rockets flying into Israel throughout the night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with top security officials and warned that the fighting could drag on, despite calls for calm from the US, Europe and elsewhere.

Hamas, the militant group ruling the Gaza Strip, fired dozens of rockets last night, setting off air raid sirens as far as Jerusalem. The barrage came after Hamas had given Israel a deadline to withdraw security forces from the Al-Aqsa mosque.

By this morning, Hamas and other Gaza militants had fired more than 200 rockets. That included a barrage of six rockets that targeted Jerusalem, some 100km away. It set off air raid sirens throughout Jerusalem, and explosions could be heard in what was believed to be the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war.

Israelis run to shelters as air attack sirens go off in Jerusalem,. Photo / AP
Israelis run to shelters as air attack sirens go off in Jerusalem,. Photo / AP

There appeared to be some first signs of de-escalation in Jerusalem early today. Palestinian worshippers performed the dawn prayer at the mosque without confrontations as Israel apparently limited the presence of its police officers around the compound. Amateur videos showed dozens of faithful marching to the mosque and chanting "we sacrifice our blood, soul for Al-Aqsa".

In Gaza, an Israeli drone strike killed a man in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis early today, according to local media reports. In another strike, a woman and two men were killed when a missile struck the upper floors of an apartment building in the Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, according to Gaza Health Ministry and rescue services.

Hamas' armed wing said it intensified the rocket barrages following the airstrike on the house.

The Israeli military said it had carried out dozens of airstrikes across Gaza overnight, targeting what it said were Hamas military installations and operatives. It said a Hamas tunnel, rocket launchers and at least eight militants had been hit.

 
A Palestinian man inspects the rubble of a partially destroyed residential building in Gaza after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike. Photo / AP
A Palestinian man inspects the rubble of a partially destroyed residential building in Gaza after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike. Photo / AP

Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defence system. But one landed near a home on the outskirts of Jerusalem, causing light damage to the structure and sparking a brush fire nearby. In southern Israel, an Israeli man was lightly wounded after a missile struck a vehicle.

Netanyahu said that "terrorist organisations in Gaza have crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles in the outskirts of Jerusalem." He said fighting could continue for some time and that ""whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price," he said, warning that the fighting could "continue for some time."

Gaza health officials gave no further breakdowns on the casualties. At least 15 of the 22 deaths in Gaza were attributed to the airstrikes. Seven of the deaths were members of a single family, including three children, who died in an explosion in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. It was not clear if the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike or errant rocket. More than 100 Gazans were wounded in the airstrikes, the Health Ministry said.

In a statement issued early today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the rocket attacks would continue until Israel stops "all scenes of terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque".

A medic treats a wounded boy following an explosion in Gaza. Photo / AP
A medic treats a wounded boy following an explosion in Gaza. Photo / AP
Tensions at the Al-Aqsa mosque, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have triggered repeated bouts of violence in the past.

In Monday's unrest, Israeli police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians at the compound.

 

More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the mosque as police and protesters faced off inside the walled compound that surrounds it, said an Associated Press photographer at the scene. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the nearby plaza. Inside one area of the compound, shoes and debris lay scattered over ornate carpets.

Over 600 Palestinians were hurt in Jerusalem alone, including more than 400 who required care at hospitals and clinics, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Palestinians and police reported renewed clashes late on Monday. Israeli police also reported unrest in northern Israel, where Arab protesters burned tires and threw stones and fireworks at security forces. Police said 46 people were arrested.

Monday's confrontations came after weeks of almost nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the Old City of Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The month tends to be a time of heightened religious sensitivities.

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man near the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo / AP
Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man near the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo / AP

Most recently, the tensions have been fuelled by the planned eviction of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, where Israeli settlers have waged a lengthy legal battle to take over properties.

Israel's Supreme Court postponed a key ruling on Monday in the case, citing the "circumstances". 

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned "in the strongest terms" the rocket fire on Israel and called on all sides to calm the situation.

"More broadly, we're deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including violent confrontations in Jerusalem," he said. Price said the US would remain "fully engaged" and praised steps by Israel to cool things down, including the court delay in the eviction case.

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo / AP
Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo / AP

In an apparent attempt to avoid further confrontation, Israeli authorities changed the planned route of a march by thousands of flag-waving nationalist Jews through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City to mark Jerusalem Day.

The annual festival is meant to celebrate Israel's capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. But it is widely seen as a provocation because the route goes through the heart of Palestinian areas.

Israel also captured the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians seek all three areas for a future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital.

Meanwhile, the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar, which frequently mediate between Israel and Hamas, were all trying to halt the fighting, a diplomatic official confirmed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the issue with the media. 

The tensions in Jerusalem have threatened to reverberate throughout the region and come at a crucial point in Israel's political crisis. Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition last week, and his opponents are now working to build an alternative government. By: Josef Federman and Fares Akram, AP

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