An international human rights group accuses Kenyan policemen of raping, beating, and extorting money from refugees of Somali origin.

Human Rights Watch in a report released Wednesday said police arrested more than 1,000 asylum seekers between mid-November and late January.

Kenya was hit by a string of grenade attacks last year in Nairobi's Eastleigh area, which is highly populated by Somali immigrants. The Somali militant group al-Shabab had vowed to carry out attacks on Kenya because it sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight the rebels.

The rights group says police used the attacks and a government order to relocate urban refugees to camps as an excuse to carry out the abuses.

Kenya police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi could not be reached for comment.