Somali president warns Kenya against force return of Somali refugees


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Somali refugee woman sits in Dadaab refugee camp

BALADWEYNE (HIRAN MEDIA CENTER) – Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has warned that a proposal by Kenyan government to close the world’s largest refugee camp and send back refugees en masse to their countries would worsen the security situation in the East African nation.

Announcing the decision, Kenya’s government said it would close the sprawling camp of Dadaab later this year, citing ‘reasons of pressing national security’ besides  that the camp has become a ‘safe haven’ for terrorist groups like Al Shabab, , a development decried by rights groups and aid agencies as ‘disturbing’.

In recent years, the semi-arid refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya which hosts over 300,000 people had found itself in Kenyan security’s crosshairs after deadly attacks by the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group.

“Returning refugees by force will only pose enormous challenges and it will not solve anything and I hope Kenya which is among the signatory states of the international convention on refugee law will not go ahead with that plan.” Mr. Mohamud told BBC’s Somali Service Wednesday.

Established in 1991, the camp largely receives people fleeing conflict in Somalia, as well ethnic people escaping prosecution in some East African countries.

Meanwhile, Somali president has also warned that the construction of the controversial 440-mile wall along its border with Kenya “by the Kenyan government would separate people from two neighboring countries.

“We have more important and common interests we share than camps’ closure and border wall constructions.”  He said in the interview.

Kenyan government it would build the border wall in a bid to keep out the Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group which carried out multiple deadly attacks in Kenya after the East African nation sent troops to Somalia to defeat the militant group which it blamed for spate of kidnappings of foreigners in the country.