Immigration chief to steer refugees' eviction

The Government's decision to repatriate at least 600,000 refugees is now more certain after an Immigration boss was picked to lead an 11-member team to spearhead the process.

Yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery tasked Major-General (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa to formulate timelines and costs for the repatriation within two weeks.

In a gazette notice published on Wednesday, Mr Nkaissery wants the team to develop a plan for provision of security during the repatriation process and a refugee management and control strategy for the period.

Other members to the National Taskforce on Repatriation of Refugees are Martin Kimani, Richard Ndubai, Mohamud Saleh, Reuben Kimotho, George Walwa, Catherine Bunyassi, Catherine Mogaka, Boniface Maingi, Naman Owuor and Haron Komen.

Kimani is the chief of the National Counter-terrorism Centre, while Ndubai is the Director General of the National Youth Service (NYS). Saleh is the regional coordinator for Northern Kenya where the Daadab refugee complex, with an estimated 600,000 refugees, is located.

Wilberforce Kilonzo and Muthoni Kanyugo are the joint secretaries to the team.

"(The team has) to develop a verification criteria for refugees that will feed into a comprehensive database and develop a sensitisation programme for refugees' host communities on the repatriation exercise," said the Interior Minister.

The taskforce shall also examine and recommend appropriate legal and policy framework to enable repatriation in light of the existing laws and conventions.

"The team shall also identify emerging international practices in refugee management in the context of national security consideration," reads the gazzette notice.

The government announced its intention to close down the two major refugee camps – Daadab and Kakuma – in a major plan to return more than 600,000 refugees back to their homeland.