Time to send Somali refugees back home – Raila

The Prime Minister wants the Somali refugees immediately repatriated blaming them for the increase in terror activity within Kenya’s borders/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga says it is not enough to return Somali refugees associated with terror attacks to the Dadaab camp, as proposed by Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo on Saturday, terming it a stop gap measure.

The Prime Minister wants the Somali refugees immediately repatriated blaming them for the increase in terror activity within Kenya’s borders.

“We have discussed the security situation there (in Eastleigh) because this is a recurring issue. There must be measures put in place to deal with it, not just as a stop gap measure but on a permanent basis so that there is security in the area.”

“The government has already ordered a crackdown to get all the people who are illegally residing in our country to places where they belong.”

His statement comes in response to a grenade attack outside Hidaya mosque after Friday prayers in Eastleigh that resulted in five deaths and the injury of Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan.

“This is of course a terrible incident… very shocking. I had an opportunity to meet with the Member of Parliament for Kamukunji who is in Aga Khan Hospital last night and he’s very badly injured.”

The terror attack occurred only two days after a roadside explosion killed one and wounded eight others in the same estate.

Iringo revealed on Saturday after visiting the MP that some Somali refugees who have escaped the Dadaab camp are responsible for the attacks adding that a total of 92 suspects had been arrested in relation to the bombings and would be charged in court.

Iringo backed Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri’s assertion in October that Somalia is now safe enough for those who fled the former Al-Shabaab strongholds to return and that the government is indeed in talks with the UN refugee agency to expedite the process.

Ongeri expressed concern in October during the United Nations’ 67th anniversary celebrations that refugees have become a security threat.

Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world providing temporary shelter to over 630,000 persons; a hundred and forty thousand of whom sought asylum following the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) incursion into Somalia in a bid to flush out the Al-Shabaab, a terror organisation linked to Al Qaeda.

Humanitarian organisations have termed the move hasty saying the situation on the ground is not yet stable and repatriated refugees would be subjected to substandard camps leading to shelter and sanitation concerns.

Somalia elected a new president in September following the KDF capture of Al Shabaab stronghold Kismayu but there are still pockets of resistance with African Union forces capturing the town of Jowhar from Al Shabaab militants on Sunday.

President Mwai Kibaki also went on record in May asking the European Union to back the repatriation of Somali refugees saying they are a strain on Kenyan resources and that through the joint efforts of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Kenya’s Defence Forces and the Transitional Federal Government, safe areas had been created that can host Somali refugees in their country.

OLIVE BURROWS

OLIVE BURROWS

Olive Burrows has been writing features for the last five years having studied communication at Daystar University. She hopes to make a difference through human interest features and is passionate about the environment. She hopes to grow her experience doing radio and video features at Capital FM and to contribute to the brand’s tradition of trend setting.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gkimega Godfrey Kimega

    As a potential president, Raila should know better than to make statements that could be interpreted as calling for the expulsion of refugees. There are better ways for a PM to express such views.

  • Andrew J Franklin

    This sort of policy pronouncement demonstrates contempt for reality and can only be made when the speaker knows that the media is too docile to ask for more details. The PM promises the impossible at the drop of a hat and on the spur of the moment; actual delivery is apparently pending until he becomes Head of State?
    Words without substance and statements of hopeful results without any factual basis or connection with reality but this is considered to be normal in Kenya!

  • Da Vince

    actually it is time, we’ve had refugees from south sudan before and they behaved, never had of terror attacks, why should we continue to host trouble? and yes somalia is even now much safe as compared to kenya,,, Yet they are being given refugee priviledges that even we as normal citizen never get!! ungrateful they are,,, Asante ya punda ni mateke

  • Domingo

    Once again Raila makes ridiculous announcements just to win votes even though he knows he’s wrong. Remember his call to Kibera residents not to pay rent just before the 2007 elections? His recent overtones to mungiki even though they slaughtered hundreds of innocent wanainchi in central Kenya, his bending over to MRC! That’s why I will rather vote for my goat before participating in the upcoming farce!

  • mkenyamwema

    whenever this guy opens his idle mouth, be ready for some verbal diarhoea! Now he knows its a hot debate that can earn him a few votes….and he grabs the opportunity, knwing very well how impossible it is. Omera, admit it, you have run out of ideas and Kenyans do not need your leadership! Do not force to lead us!