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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora