The Kenyan authorities will soon come up with “stringent measures” to restrict movement of refugees in and out of Dadaab camps, an official said on Thursday, claiming that the militant group Al-Shabaab has been gaining help from people in the camps.
Northeastern Regional Coordinator, Mohamud Saleh, said some refugees were aiding the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants by providing them with foodstuff, drugs and even transportation of weapons usually by donkey carts.
“In our recent operation in Yumbis, the security personnel intercepted 25 donkey carts belonging to the refugees. To our surprise, the owners escaped when they stopped. This is a clear indication that the owners were up to no good,” he told journalists in Garissa town.
Saleh said some of the people in Dadaab are engaged in multi- million illegal business with their kinsmen in Somalia.
“These people don’t qualify to be refugees. We shall ensure that the camp only holds those who by international standards qualify for asylum,” he said.
The official said he will meet the host community’s leadership, the United Nations refugee agency, or UNHCR and the department of refugee affairs in Dadaab in order to come with a lasting solution to the “security problems created by refugees.”
Dadaab, which hosts some 350,000 Somalis, is the world’s largest refugee settlement.
The Kenyan government in April asked the UNHCR to close the camps in 90 days after nearly 150 university students in Garissa were killed by Al-Shabaab gunmen early that month.
Saleh added that some of the refugees are also involved in wildlife poaching and relevant illicit trade.
“All these problems are attributed to the free movement of refugees. It must stop,” he said.
Only refugees seeking specialized medical treatment and students taking university entrance exam will be issued with a pass to leave the refugee camps, according to the official.