Saturday, October 28, 2006


The Government of Kenya has turned away about 4,400 Somali nationals who were seeking refugee status in the country.

Internal Security Minister Mr John Michuki ordered the immigrants out of the country immediately, citing security concerns.

Addressing journalists during a tour of refugee camps at Dadaab on Wednesday, Michuki said the immigrants were expelled from the country after failing to justify their request for refugee status.

“We will admit only genuine refugees from Somalia but will definitely turn away those who do not qualify for such status,” Michuki said.

Found not to be qualified for refugee status

He said immigrants who claimed to have fled from the Southern regions of the country following renewed fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) troops and militia factions were “found not to be qualified for refugee status”.

The minister also visited Liboi border point, where Kenyan authorities have set up a mobile clinic to immunise all new arrivals against polio and measles.

Michuki said the immigration department and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officials had computerised the screening process of the refugees.

New cases to hit 80,000 by December

North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Mr Kiritu Wamae said among the rejected applications were 60 Kenyan Somalis who sought asylum status with the hope of securing refugee status in Europe and America.

The order comes in the wake of mass influx of refugees from the troubled nation. UNHCR officials confirmed that about 30,000 immigrants have been received at Ifo, Dagahaley and Hagardera refugee camps since March when the Islamist uprising against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government erupted.

The agency projects that the number of new cases at the Dadaab camps would top 80,000 by December.