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Published On: 3 April 2011 11:30 pm

Somali Refugees flocking Kenya, says UN

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guteres has decried the increasing number of refugees flowing to Kenya from the fighting in Somalia.

Guteres said since January this year (2011) up to 10,000 refugees have crossed the border to Kenya leading to congestion at Dadaab camp.

He blamed Somalia’s militia group Al-Shabaab for the situation adding security was not good at the camp.

Guteres made the remarks at Dadaab while in the company of World Food Programme executive director Ms Josette Sheeran and executive director of UN women Michelle Bachele.

They trio was assessing food crisis, security situation and state of women and children during this period of security threats from the Somalia gangs.

They also visited Ifo and Hagdera refugee camps as part of their visits in the area, which was under tight security.

“We want more security. We are also in talks with the Kenyan government to get more land to expand the camps. The humanitarian crisis has been bad for the last two months when fresh fighting broke out,” said Guteres.

Fresh fighting between Al-Shabaab and Transitional Federal Government troops near the Kenyan border has been ongoing in the past two months prompting thousands of residents to flee.

The refugees’ destination is Kenya, which has forced the deployment of more personnel to screen and interrogate those arriving.

According to one of the refugees who arrived at Dadaab a week ago from Kismayu, fighting is sporadic as TFG troops are trying to unseat the militia group from the area.

Kenya has deployed hundreds of security personnel at the border to deter incursion. The gangs have more than twice attacked troops in Liboi in protest against alleged Kenya’s assistance to the TFG.

Last week Internal security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia warned the gangs they will not be spared if they try to attack again.

“Leave Kenya alone and if you try again we shall fight you to the end,” warned Kimemia.

Kimemia added security had been beefed up along the expansive and porous Kenya/Somalia boarder to deter such attacks.

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militia had been shelling the town with bombs as they resisted an onslaught by forces loyal to the TFG at a nearby town.

Al-Shabaab, aligned to al-Qaeda, has warned it would attack Kenya for supporting an enemy- TFG.

Kenya has been training pockets of TFG soldiers in preparation of their take over, which has angered the militia group.

Commissioner of police Mathew Iteere has called on Kenyans to be vigilant in malls, social places and Public Service Vehicles due to the Al-Shabaab threats.

Source: Standard