News / Africa

Fewer Somalis Fleeing To Kenya

A Somali man from southern Somalia cuts tree branches to construct a makeshift shelter in refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 11, 2011.
A Somali man from southern Somalia cuts tree branches to construct a makeshift shelter in refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 11, 2011.
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee agency reports fewer Somali refugees are crossing into Kenya due to continuing conflict and bad weather in Somalia.  The agency says some Somalis are being prevented from fleeing by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.  

The U.N. refugee agency reports heavy rains are making many roads in Somalia impassable.  This, it says, is slowing the previous flow of Somalis in search of asylum and humanitarian assistance.  

But, the bad weather is only part of the story.  The UNHCR says fear of getting caught in the ongoing conflict between the government and al-Shabab militants, as well as military activity along the Somali-Kenyan border, also is slowing the refugee exodus.

Despite these impediments, U.N. refugee spokesman Adrian Edwards says Somali refugees continue to arrive in the town of Dhobley, which is just 18 kilometers from the Kenyan border.  He says many appear deeply distressed.  

“They tell our staff they fled rumored impending military clashes in the area, and threats of forced return by al-Shabab to their places of origin," said Edwards. "Last weekend, six trucks containing almost 180 displaced people from Afgooye district, the majority from the K50 IDP camp, arrived in Dhobley after traveling for 27 days on flooded roads.  They said that they had been instructed by al-Shabab to return to their farms but opted instead to travel to Dhobley in search of humanitarian help.”  

In October, the Kenyan government sent hundreds of troops into southern Somalia with the goal of subduing al-Shabab.  This followed a spate of kidnappings in Kenya that the government blamed on the militant group.  

The Kenyan military presence has increased fighting in the region and worsened the situation around Dhobley, which is the main transit point for Somalis en route to Kenya.  The Kenyan government says it plans to keep its forces in Somalia until the threat of the insurgents has been reduced.  

Edwards says it is difficult to assess what impact the Kenyan military presence in Somalia is having on the humanitarian situation.

“It is hard to comment on the rumors themselves," he said. "But, clearly displaced people or civilians in general are in an environment where there is a significant fear of conflict whoever the parties to the conflict are…. Nonetheless, you know as well as I do that these people are in an area where there are at least two, possibly more parties to the conflict.”  

The United Nations reports more than 12 million people have been affected by the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years, though conditions have begun to improve.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fleeing famine and conflict have gone to neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.  The numbers in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex keep going up.  Dadaab originally was designed to hold 90,000 people.  It now is home to nearly half a million.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid