Somalia has condemned the arrest of one of its diplomats in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, during a security operation to flush out illegal immigrants and militant Islamists.
Siyad Mohamud Shire’s brief arrest on Friday violated his diplomatic immunity, Somalia’s government said.
Kenyan police said Mr Shire did not have proper documents.
About 4,000 people have been arrested in Nairobi this month in police raids aimed at ending attacks by militants.
Many of them have been taken to a sports stadium, where police check their immigration status and whether they have links with Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.
‘Fear and mistrust’
The group has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011.
In September, at least 67 people were killed after its fighters took control of the upmarket Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi for four days.
Police say they are screening Somalis to find out their legal status
The security operation has focused on Eastleigh, a mainly Somali neighbourhood in Nairobi, where six people were killed in grenade explosions on 31 March.
Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said his government was seriously concerned about the arrest of law-abiding Somalis who had made a vital contribution to Kenya’s economy.
“Both our governments share the same security concerns, but the continued detention of innocent Somalis only serves to create an atmosphere of fear and mistrust that will result in dividing our communities,” he added in a statement.
He said Somalia would seek an official explanation from Kenya about the arrest of Mr Shire, described as a political consular at its embassy in Nairobi.
Mr Shire was picked up from his home, and released a few hours later following the intervention of Somalia’s ambassador, Mohammed Ali Nur, Kenya’s privately owned Standard newspaper reports.
Kenya deported 82 Somalis on 9 April after accusing them of living illegally in Kenya.
Last month, Kenya’s government ordered all Somali refugees living in towns to move into designated camps in a bid to end militant attacks.
On 24 March six people died in an attack on a church near the port of Mombasa.
Somalia has been been hit by instability for more than two decades, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee across the border.
Kenya also has a large ethnic Somali population of its own.
Source: BBC News