Kenya deregisters over 500 NGOs, accuses 15 of terrorism

Kenya deregisters over 500 NGOs, accuses 15 of terrorism

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:42AM GMT

Kenyan authorities have deregistered over 500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), some of which are accused of financing terrorism, officials say.

A total of 15 of the 537 deregistered NGOs have had their bank accounts frozen and information forwarded to security agencies over links to terrorism, deputy director of Kenya’s NGO Coordination Board, Henry Ochido, said on Tuesday.

“Some NGOs have been and continue to be used for criminal activities, including as conduits of terrorism financing in Kenya and the Horn of Africa,” the board said in a statement.

The list includes 510 other organizations – among them women’s empowerment groups, rural development organizations and legal groups for people living with HIV and AIDS – that have contravened Kenya’s NGO Coordination Act and “completely failed to respond to the notice for intended cancellation of their registration certificates,” the government said.

Another 12 organizations, including medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and Concern Worldwide, would be deregistered because they failed to file audit reports.

Hundreds of other NGOs are at the risk of being deregistered within the next three weeks, Ochido added.

Experts have criticized Kenya’s 1990 NGO Coordination Act as being deeply flawed, citing government interference and restriction of autonomy for NGOs.

Kenya currently has over 3,000 soldiers stationed in southern Somalia, where they have been battling al-Shabab militants. Nairobi sent troops into Somalia in late 2011, after the militant group carried out a series of raids inside Kenya.

Somalia’s al-Shabab group has claimed responsibility for much of the violence in Kenya, saying it is in response to the presence of thousands of Kenyan troops in Somalia as part of the African Union force supporting Mogadishu.

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