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VAS

Centre set up to vet South Sudan refugees

NORTH EASTERN
By LUCAS NG’ASIKE | January 13th 2014
             Refugees at a camp

By LUCAS NG’ASIKE

The Government has set up a refugee reception centre at  Nadapal border point along the Kenya-South Sudan border in conjunction with the United Nations to register the refugees seeking asylum at Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana West Sub County.

The deputy County commissioner Mohamed Haji Dara disclosed that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the department of refugee affairs (DRA), a government department in charge of protection of refugees in the country, has set up a refugee centre at the border point to vet arriving Sudanese refugees.

Overwhelmed

Mr Dara said they have been overwhelmed by the number of Sudanese families,  especially women and children,  who are seeking asylum in Kenya following the  outbreak of ethnic violence in South Sudan.

For the last three weeks, fighting between the rebel and government forces in South Sudan has left over a thousand people dead and thousands others displaced.

The administrator noted that Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana West Sub County,  which currently hosts an estimated 119,000 refugees from  different nationalities, was already overstretched.

“We are faced with humanitarian crisis in the region. The camp is already congested. But we have set up a portion of land to accommodate the new Sudanese arrivals,” Dara said.

He said vetting of the refugees would continue at the border point to ensure only genuine refugees are registered in the camp.

“We have put up security measures to ensure all refugees seeking asylum are vetted before they are enrolled to the camp. We don’t want a situation where some hooligans take advantage of the Sudan crisis to smuggle firearms into the country,” Dara said.

He said they were experiencing a high refugee influx at the Kenya-South Sudan border, adding that they were receiving between 500 and 800 Sudanese nationals daily at Nadapal border point.

The administrator said top UN officials last week toured the border point to assess the humanitarian crisis.

He said more than 7,000 refugees had been registered at the border point so far.

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