Kenya returns 412 refugees to designated camps

Kenya shelters a total of close to 800,000 refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kenya returns 412 refugees to designated camps

World Bulletin / News Desk

Authorities will return 412 refugees to two designated refugee camps in northern Kenya after they were arrested in different parts of the country.

"They were in Nairobi and Mombasa," Harun Komen, acting commissioner for refugees, told Anadolu Agency in a Thursday telephone interview.

"It was found that they had no documents to allow them to live out of the refugee camps," he said.

The refugees include 406 Somalis, two Ethiopians, one Congolese, two Ugandans and one Sudanese.

"We will repatriate them immediately to Dadaab and Kakuma," Komen said, in reference to two refugee camps.

It is the first time for Kenya to repatriate refugees to the camps since the government issued a directive late last month barring refugees from urban centers.

The directive called on refugees in urban centers – estimated to number nearly 50,000 – to relocate to designated refugee camps in the arid northern areas of Dadaab and Kakuma.

Dadaab in northeastern Kenya is believed to be the world's largest refugee camp, with an estimated population of roughly 500,000 refugees.

Kakuma, also in northern Kenya, is home to more than 125,000 mainly Sudanese refugees, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

The two camps, located in one of the most remote parts of the country, already suffer from overcrowding.

Kenya shelters a total of close to 800,000 refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We advise all refugees who have volunteered to return to the two designated refugee camps to seek police escorts for their security," Komen said.

"The Department of Refugee Affairs will also help those refugees and asylum seekers who feel they need assistance to go back to the camps," he added.

The official said that last month's directive did not violate international laws, but nevertheless urged security agents to treat refugees respectfully.

There has been some concern that the teeming Dadaab camp is already functioning beyond capacity.

"Conditions in the camps aren't as deplorable as some want us to believe," Komen said. "Refugees at the camps have access to all basic amenities."

Last Mod: 18 Nisan 2014, 10:04
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