News / Africa

    Insecurity Grows in Somali Refugee Camps in Horn of Africa

    Refugees stand outside their tent at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border (File)
    Refugees stand outside their tent at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border (File)

    The United Nations refugee agency warns of growing insecurity in camps sheltering hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa.  The UNHCR says the situation is particularly worrisome in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex, the largest refugee settlement in the world.    

    Nearly one-half million refugees, most of them Somalis, are living in Dadaab. The U.N. refugee agency says it is extremely concerned about their safety. It says the camp’s inhabitants have been under threat from improvised explosive devices, kidnappings, vehicle hijackings and banditry over the past few months.

    UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic says most of the security incidents probably are a result of banditry, which is very high. But, he does not exclude that so-called other elements also are involved.

    “Things got somewhat more serious in October when we had the kidnapping of three aid workers and certainly with the bombings that clearly targeted the police force in Dadaab.  Four police officers were killed, three wounded, said Mahecic. "And certainly, there are elements clearly there who whether they have infiltrated or they come and go, it is not really clear and it is really impossible to say.”  

    The Kenyan government sent hundreds of troops into southern Somalia following the spate of kidnappings in Dadaab and other areas near the Somali border in October. The government blamed al-Shabab militants for the kidnappings and vowed to subdue the Islamist group.

    The Kenyan military presence in southern Somalia has increased fighting in the region. At the same time, the situation in the Dadaab refugee camps was starting to become more dangerous.  

    Mahecic says the Kenyan authorities are investigating the killings along with other risks and abuses against refugees. He says the threats in the camps are seriously curbing the ability of aid agencies to do their job.  

    He says humanitarian workers are continuing to provide basic services such as health, food, water, sanitation, education and protection. But, many other programs are no longer available.

    “In addition to the life-saving services, there is a whole range of services that are usually being offered to the refugees, which could include from the vocational training, special counseling, psycho-social workshops, some special programs for women, etc.," said Mahecic. "So, there is a very broad range of different activities. You have to remember this is a camp of a size of a town in the middle of sand.  But, these people have the needs like everybody else in the world and the aid agencies are trying to cater to all those needs.”  

    In the meantime, the U.N. refugee agency says it is becoming fearful about the security situation in the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia. It says that on Wednesday, three armed men dressed as civilians fired on a vehicle belonging to a private international aid agency when it refused to stop. Fortunately no one was hurt.

    While this was an isolated incident, the UNHCR says aid agencies have stopped all but essential services while an investigation is underway. It says security for humanitarian staff is being increased.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora