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Hundreds of Somalis in Kenya face deportation

NAIROBI (SD) – Hundreds of Somali immigrants in Kenya will face deportation after the government denied to give them identification documents.

Last week, over 1,000 Somalis who have been living in Lamu county for the past three decades had appealed to be issued with national IDs, birth certificates and title deeds.

Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia on Friday told the immigrants that they will not get IDs and will remain in Kenya as aliens.

“Staying in Kenya for whatever period still doesn’t give you the right to claim Kenyan citizenship. You remain an immigrant and can only be recognised as an alien by law. We can only give you special cards showing you are in Kenya legally. You can’t be given national IDs. Never,” Macharia during a meeting between the immigrants and security officials in Kiunga town.

The move comes barely two days after Kenya gave UNHCR two weeks ultimatum to present a plan to repatriate hundreds of thousands of people in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps within four months.

Kenya Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i asserted there was “no room for further negotiations,” citing government intentions since 2016 to shut down the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, close to Somalia.

“CS Matiang’i issues UNHCR with a 14-day ultimatum to have a roadmap on definite closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Says no room for further negotiations,” read part of a tweet from the ministry.

The move was decried by UNHCR, warning of a catastrophe if the refugees are ejected from the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps which have a population of 218,873 and 196,666 registered refugees respectively.

“The UNHCR has been informed by the Kenyan authorities of their intention to close Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps within a short timeframe. The decision would have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue our dialogue with the Kenyan authorities on this issue.”

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