Somali refugees camping in Kenya should return home, a senator has said.
Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe (Narc) said the Somali President had already signalled that his country was stable enough for its citizens to return and wondered why Somalis were still in refugee camps in Kenya.
Speaking in the Senate, he said it would be more sensible to have the Dadaab refugee camp, possibly the world’s largest, shifted to Somali territory so Kenya could help the refugees while in their own country.
“The Somali President has already said the country is stable enough for its citizens to return, and if they continue staying in refugee camps in Kenya they might actually deny their president the manpower he needs to rebuild the country,” he said.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (URP) said the ratio of police to citizens should be increased, saying policing should not be a preserve of a few, mainly politicians, who enjoy armed police protection.
He also said the country’s porous borders should be policed more and urged the government to deal with the refugee crisis which he said was the main cause of insecurity in northern part of the country.
Samburu Senator Sammy Leshore (URP), himself a victim of insecurity, said the people of his county and the entire country deserved to know what happened to him and other legislators who are victims of violent attack.
Mr Leshore said he had been confined to a wheelchair after he was shot by suspected criminals and asked the government to deal with Somali aliens and other criminals behind small arms trafficking in the country.
The senators were contributing to debate on the presidential speech, in which the issue of the Somali refugees came up, with some senators saying it was time the refugees were repatriated since the Kenya Defence Forces had helped their country to stabilise.
The refugee crisis was compounded by fighting between KDF soldiers and al-Shabaab miliamen, forcing thousands to flee to camps in Kenya.
However, it is believed that criminals allied to the Al-Qaeda linked Somali-based militia may have infiltrated the country disguised as refugees, and were now carrying out revenge attacks.
In his inauguration speech, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government was committed to improving security on the country’s frontiers and promised to progressively improve the police-to-citizens ratio by bringing it closer to the UN ratio of 1:450.
“Last year, we deployed our Defence Forces to Somalia…the sanctity of life; disrespect for human rights and contempt for the law. In doing so we demonstrated to our citizens and to the world that we will deal decisively with any external threat to our citizens.
Yet threats to internal security still remain. We will deal with those internal threats with the same single-minded resolve; the same commitment to protecting our citizens,” the president said.
Xafiiska Wararka Midnimo, firstname.lastname@example.org