26 September 2017

Kenya: Crisis As UN Refugee Agency Shuts Office in Dadaab

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
(File photo).

Operations in some parts of the expansive Dadaab refugees camp has been paralysed after the United Nations refugee agency shut one of its offices.

The Nation has learnt that locals in Hagadera and Alinjugur have been protesting since Wednesday last week in a bid to push the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to reverse its decision to close its Alinjugur sub-office.

The residents said they will continue with the protests until the agency rescinds its decision as the move has paralysed crucial activities including food distribution, health, repatriation and registrations of refugees.

Schools manned by the agency have also been closed.

LOCALS

Local leaders in the area have accused UNHCR of working in isolation by closing the office, which is in Fafi constituency saying the agency have been taking decisions that affect locals without consulting them.

The Nation has also learnt that locals have also been protesting after UNHCR cut funding to Faida, a local NGO saying many youth will lose jobs.

"It seems UNHCR has taken the host community for granted because closing this office will lead job losses and development projects will halt," Mr Mahat Osman Jarajila, an MCA said Tuesday.

He said if the UN refugee agency fails to open the office, they will push for closure of Hagadera offices and refugees numbering 85,000 be moved elsewhere.

"We have been kind since refugees are our brothers, who were fleeing from war but we will now demand they be relocated. It is unacceptable for UNHRC to do things that affect our people without consulting local leadership," he said.

Effort by the Nation to get comment from Dadaab based UNHCR offices was unsuccessful as the spokesperson did not pick our calls or reply text messages.

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