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Refugees ask State to rescind directive

NORTH EASTERN
By Mike Ekutan | March 29th 2021
A South Sudanese refugee winnows maize grains within Kalobeyei Settlement outside the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana. [Reuters]

There is an outcry in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps following a decision by the Kenya government to close the camps.

The affected refugees are now pleading with the State to reverse the directive, terming it inconsiderate.

Salum Aramadhan, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo who came to Kakuma camp 10 years ago, said the announcement by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has left many shocked.

“I am shocked about this announcement because if we will be ordered to pack and go, where will we run to? I don’t know anybody back home,” he said.

Nyalamu Alupal, another refugee from Ethiopia who has stayed in Kakuma camp for the last 14 years, said she has nowhere to go. “I found a second home in Kenya after I escaped the war in Ethiopia. I was brought up in Kakuma where I thought it will be home forever, but now things have changed.”

State’s directive

Law Society of Kenya North Rift chair Joshua Maritim, addressing the Press in Eldoret town, also condemned the State’s directive.

“Our country is rated as one of the best on matters of refugee affairs. We respect our neighbours especially those affected by conflicts and that is why we are asking the government to be human,” he said.

Bishop Dominick Kimengich of Eldoret Catholic Diocese said nobody can willingly accept to be a refugee in another country without valid reasons.

“Leave our brothers and sisters in refugee camps alone. Remember during 2007-08 post-election violence, I went to some camps and what I realised was that the majority of Internally Displaced People were actually prominent people in this county,” said Kimengich.

The camps are located in Turkana County. They had a population of 196,666 registered refugees and asylum seekers at the end of July 2020.

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