Kenya shuts down 500 groups in anti-terrorism crackdown

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya has shut down more than 500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including 15 groups it said had links to financing terrorism, though critics said the government was silencing critics under the guise of security.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks by Somali Islamist militants al Shabaab, including in September last year where gunmen killed 67 people at the Westgate shopping mall in the capital Nairobi, and two attacks in recent weeks near the country’s border with Somalia that killed 64 people.

Kenya’s NGOs Coordination Board, a state agency, said on Tuesday that “some groups were being used for criminal activities, including as conduits of terrorism financing in Kenya and the Horn of Africa”, but did not give their names.