2 refugees killed in riot at Dadaab

July 1, 2011 10:08 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Two refugees were killed on Thursday and a dozen others injured when a riot broke out at the crowded Dadaab refugee camp in North Eastern Kenya.

In a statement, the spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Adrian Edwards said the two were shot by police who opened fire at rioters in the Dagahley section of the refugee complex.

"Rioting broke out when police sought to disperse a crowd that was protesting an attempt to demolish illegal structures around a food distribution point," Mr Edwards said.

"Teargas was used, and later live bullets. Our information is that two refugees were killed and around a dozen injured," he added.

Security forces were still evaluating the situation in the area on Friday.

"Sadly, this incident is symptomatic of the pressures at the camp amid overcrowding compounded by the very high number of arrivals we have been seeing recently from Somalia," the statement added.

The commission said that more than 61,000 Somalis have sought safety in Kenya since the start of the year.

"As of June 6 we had opened three emergency centres in Dadaab," UNHCR said and revealed that since then, a further 27,000 people had approached the reception centres in Dadaab.

The population of Dadaab currently stands at 370,000, according to the UNHCR.

The same outflow is reported to have been seen in Ethiopia, which has seen 55,000 Somali refugees arriving since the start of this year.

The UNHCR reported that 26 percent of new arrivals were malnourished, while among children the rate was higher at about three-in-five.

UNHCR said it had introduced a blanket feeding programme for children below the age of five and that urgent funding was needed to deal with the situation. 

The two existing camps in Ethiopia\’s south-east, Bokolmanyo and Malkadida, which were opened in April 2009 and February 2010 respectively, accommodate over 70,000 refugees and have reached full capacity.

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