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Denzel Musumba

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Kenyans who commit crimes within the East African Community will be handed over to the affected nation for legal action, the government has warned. The warning comes just days after Kenyan terrorism suspects were arrested in Uganda. Civil society groups and Muslims have been exerting pressure on the government to explain the circumstances under which the 13 Kenyans were transferred to Uganda to face terrorism charges. In addition, the executive coordinator of Muslim Human Rights Forum Al-Amin Kimathi is also being held in Uganda on similar charges of terrorism and his family has pleaded for his release. The Kenya Human Rights Commission, SUPKEM and the families of the suspects claim they did not go through the due extradition process. However, government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the action to transfer the suspects to Uganda was within the security agreement among the five member states of East African Community. “The Government wishes to inform the public that there exists a security agreement under the East African Community to reduce and stop cross border crimes," said a statement posted on his website. “Now, with the free movement of people and services in the region, it is even more critical that criminals are stopped from taking advantage of this economic protocol to start stealing and selling goods in the countries or plotting and carrying out criminal activities in one country or another.” “Therefore, people who commit crime in any of the East African Countries will be handed over to the affected country for questioning and further legal action in any of the East African countries,” Dr Mutua said. An EAC Peace and Security strategy was adopted by the 13th Council of Ministers meeting in November 2006 to guide the states in combating crime in the region.