Nairobi — The government has now directed all refugees living in urban areas to return to designated camps, and deployed an additional 500 officers in Nairobi and Mombasa. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku issued the order while citing security challenges in urban centres.
He emphasised that all refugees residing outside Kakuma and Dadaab should return there with immediate effect. "There are no other refugee camps outside these areas (Kakuma and Dadaab). Anyone found to be flouting this directive will be dealt with in accordance with the law," he said.
He further pointed out that all refugee registration centers in Nairobi, Mombasa and Isiolo will be closed and urged Kenyans to report refugees or illegal immigrants found outside the camps. "I would like to appeal to Kenyans that security is a shared responsibility and citizens should cooperate with law enforcement agencies at all times," he stated.
At the same time, he stated that the additional officers deployed will assist in enhancing security. "An additional 500 police officers will be deployed with immediate effect in Nairobi and Mombasa and their environs to enhance security and surveillance. Other security organs will support the exercise," he stated.
In January last year, a move by the government to relocate an estimated 100,000 urban Somali refugees brought condemnation from Human Rights Watch. The latest move by the Interior Secretary comes in the wake of Sunday's terror attack at a church in Likoni, Mombasa. On Monday, guards found four empty bullet boxes at a shopping mall in Nairobi raising more security concerns.