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Rights groups: Attacks on Somalis in Kenya rising

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January 22, 2013 09:50 AM EST | AP

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Human rights activists say Somalis in Kenya are facing increased attacks from gangs and harassment from the police since the government issued an order that all Somali refugees should return to a camp.

Ten rights groups Tuesday said in a statement that since the December 18 announcement criminal gangs have aggravated xenophobic attitudes toward genuine Somali refugees and asylum seekers seeking protection from persecution and conflict in their home country.

Kenya announced the new, more stringent controls aimed primarily at Somali refugees inside its borders after enduring months of explosive attacks blamed on the Somali Islamist extremist group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab vowed to carry out attacks on Kenya after the Kenyan army went into Somalia in 2011 to pursue the militants blamed for a string of cross-border attacks and kidnappings.