By Cyrus Ombati
“UNHCR and other partners serving refugees are asked to stop providing direct services to asylum seekers and refugees in the urban areas and transfer the same services to the refugee camps,” the order said.
The order follows a spate of attacks in Kenya’s northeastern Somali regions as well as in the capital Nairobi, with several blasts in the largely ethnic Somali district of Eastleigh.
The attacks are usually blamed on members or sympathisers of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab fighters, although they have made no claim to the series of blasts, which escalated after Kenyan troops invaded Somalia last year.
“The government of Kenya has decided to stop reception, registration and close down all registration centres in the urban areas with immediate effect,” said Katelo.
Dadaab, around a 100 kilometres from the main border with Somalia, hosts over 468,700 mainly Somali refugees.
Kakuma, around a 100 kilometres from the border with South Sudan, hosts over 103,600 refugees, almost half of whom are Somalis, the rest largely being made up of Sudanese or South Sudanese, officials said.
Last week, Katelo said the decision was due to the rising insecurity where in some cases refugees have been implicated.