Mps want the Dadaab refugee camp closed. Should it be?

Posted: October 1, 2013 in Politics/Current issues

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The Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security now wants the Government to close down Dadaab refugee camp which is located in northern Kenya. The committee wants the government to also arrange for  of all Somali refugees to be returned back to their country.

Asman Kamama, the committee chairman yesterday said the United Nations should help Kenya close down the camp, as it has become a breeding ground for terrorists. This remarks come just about 8 days after the Westgate Mall terror attack in Nairobi where gunmen stormed and shot dead more than sixty people and held hostage others for close to three days.

“That camp has become a nursery for terrorists. The United Nations must now understand the security of Kenyans comes first. Even if it is about human rights, it should not be at our expense,” said Kamama.

Kamama said the committee will take  action on immigration and registration of persons officials who were allowing suspected terrorists to sneak into the country. He said they were not going to sit down and watch the country being terrorized.

“Those corrupt officers, who receive money to register illegal aliens, must be held accountable. We want officers in the department to be vigilante and patriotic,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, who is also the  Mp for Tiaty , criminals were taking advantage of of Kenya’s hospitality to launch attacks against Kenyans. He added  that closing down all refugee camps will guarantee Kenyans safety. He said terrorists have been finding their way into the country through the refugee camp.

So should the Dadaab refugee camp be closed?

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Facts about Dadaab refugee camp according to Wikipeadia.

Dadaab is a semi-arid town in the North Eastern Province in Kenya. As of 2011, it hosts what is often described as the largest refugee camp in the world.

Dadaab is located approximately 100 kilometers from the Kenya-Somalia border. It is situated in the Garissa District.Until recently, the local population traditionally consisted of nomadic Somali camel and goat herders. The nearest major town is Garissa, which is the headquarters of the North Eastern Province.

Dadaab features a UNHCR base that serves refugee camps around the town: Hagadera, Ifo and Dagahaley. The international humanitarian organization CARE is UNHCR’s lead implementing partner responsible for managing the camp. Much of the town’s economy is based on services for the base’s residents. The camps cover a total area of 50 square km and are within an 18 km radius of Dadaab town.

Dadaab hosts people that have fled various conflicts in the larger Eastern Africa region. Most have come as a consequence of the civil war in southern Somalia, including both Somalis and members of Somalia’s various ethnic minority groups such as the Bantu.[3] Most of the latter have migrated from the southern Juba River valley and the Gedo region, while the remainder have arrived from Kismayo, Mogadishu and Bardera. In 1999, the United States classified the Bantu refugees from Somalia as a priority and the United States Department of State first began what has been described as the most ambitious resettlement plan ever from Africa, with thousands of Bantus in Dadaab scheduled for resettlement in America.[4]

The Dadaab camps (Ifo, Dagahaley, Hagadera) were constructed in the early 1990s. Ifo camp was first settled by refugees from the civil war in Somalia, and later efforts were made by UNHCR to improve the camp. As the population expanded, UNHCR contacted German architect Werner Shellenberg who drew the original design for Dagahaley Camp and Per Iwanson initiated the creation of Dagahaley camp. For many years the camps were managed by CARE, and later environmental and waste management issues were overseen by GTZ.

By Nixon Kanali, Nairobi,  @NicKanali

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