Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Relocation of Somali refugees from Dadaab to start ‘soon’

Standard
Monday, January 23, 2012


Kenya plans to start moving some of the refugees at the Dadaab camp to safe havens in Somalia.

Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia said the relocation would be done in liaison with the UNHCR and the international community to areas that have been secured by Kenyan troops battling Al Shabaab militants.

"In fact, there are safe places inside Somalia following the operation by Kenyan troops; these refugees will be moved anytime," he said.

However, he did not reveal how soon the exercise would begin.

The PS spoke in Nairobi on Sunday following increasing cases in which some of the more than 400,000 refugees at the camp are colluding with Shabaab militants to attack security agents. They are also involved in gun running syndicates.

Kimemia said security agencies had been profiling the refugees and those found not to be abiding by the rules would be prosecuted, have their refugee status revoked and face repatriation.

"Refugee leaders should urgently assist security officers in weeding out criminals in their midst who have even attacked officers and relief workers. We intend to commence modalities for relocation of the refugees soon," he added.

Enforce the rules

He said the Directorate of Refugee Affairs (DRA) had been directed to conduct a head count of all refugees and enforce certain protocols and standard operating procedures.

Kimemia said a special DC would be deployed next month to manage the three refugee camps in the area.

The administrator said the issue of refugees had been a problem to Kenya and revealed the DRA would be strengthened by deploying special administrative officers who would be redesigned as refugee officers to help manage the camps.

Security officers have been targeted in explosions at the main camps in Dadaab since KDF troops ventured into Somalia. At least ten officers have died and several others wounded in the attacks that have also destroyed several vehicles.

Kenya says the refugees are to blame for the proliferation of illegal arms in the country, which are smuggled in from war-torn Somalia and later sold to criminals.

An operation at the camps last year netted five rifles and hundreds of bullets. There are about 220 police officers manning the Dadaab camps.

Meanwhile, Kimemia has revealed Kenya has instituted measures to ensure two Kenyan officials who were abducted in a raid in Wajir are returned home safely.

Precious lives

"The lives of these Kenyans are precious and the Government has demanded their unconditional release. Let their families remain calm as we try to have them brought back," he said.

Gerille DO Mule Yesse and a Registration officer, Mr Patrick Wainaina are still in captivity after Al Shabaab militants overrun a police post in Gerille in a recent attack.

A driver who had been kidnapped with the two was released and trekked several kilometres back home. The militia have released photos on the Twitter website of Mule and Irungu.

In the attack, six Kenyans including three police officers were killed.

Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere said about 100 heavily armed bandits attacked Gerille Administration Police post in Wajir South and stole firearms, ammunition and a vehicle.

"The bandits also committed arson by burning several properties within the post," said Iteere.

Al Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation to Kenya’s decision to send troops into Somalia last October.

Kenya deployed a large force in southern Somalia in mid-October to pursue Shabaab insurgents whom it accused of endangering the country’s security and economy.

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