After Al Shabab attack, Kenya demands huge UN refugee camp be removed

Kenya says the United Nations has three months to remove a camp housing more than half a million Somali refugees. Kenya has in the past accused Islamist militants of hiding out in UN camp.

Kenya has given the United Nations three months to remove a camp housing more than half a million Somali refugees, as part of a get-tough response to the killing of 148 people by Somali gunmen at a Kenyan university.

Kenya has in the past accused Islamist militants of hiding out in Dadaab camp which it now wants the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR to move across the border to inside Somalia.

"We have asked the UNHCR to relocate the refugees in three months, failure to which we shall relocate them ourselves," Deputy President William Ruto said in a statement.

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"The way America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa," he said, referring to the university that was attacked on April 2.

UNHCR officials were not immediately available for comment.

Dadaab hosts more than 600,000 thousand Somali refugees, according to Ruto, in a remote, dry corner in northeast Kenya.

Ruto said Kenya had started building a 700-km (440-mile) wall along the entire length of the border with Somalia to keep out members of the Somali Islamist militant group al Shabab.

"We must secure this country at whatever cost, even if we lose business with Somalia, so be it," he said.

On Tuesday, Kenya closed 13 informal money remittance firms, hawalas, to cut off funding to suspected radicals. Ruto said any business that collaborated with al Shabab would be shut down.

Al Shabab has killed more than 400 people on Kenyan soil in the last two years, including 67 during a siege at Nairobi's Westgate mall in 2013, damaging tourism and inward investment.

On Monday, the Kenyan air force launched air strikes against al Shabab targets in Somalia, a country where it has been militarily engaged against the Islamists for several years.

... the Air Force had bombed two sites within Somalia "because according to information we have, those [Al Shabab] fellows are coming from there to attack Kenya," the Guardian reports. The damage done to the two camps, both in the Gedo region bordering Kenya, could not be ascertained because of cloud cover over the sites, the spokesman said.

In 2012,  Kenyan and Somali forces rescued four foreign aid workers who had been kidnapped from an aid convoy near the refugee complex at Dadaab, Kenya.

The Associated Press reports that thousands have gathered in a remote village in Kenya's Rift Valley to give a hero's burial to a police officer who died fighting to end an Islamic extremist attack at Garissa university.

Corporal Benard Kipkemoi Tonui was part of the police department's Recce Company which stopped the April 2 attack on Garissa University College in eastern Kenya in less than half an hour. This was after the army and regular police had tried for 12 hours to halt the four gunmen from Somalia's al-Shabab militant group from killing students.

Burial for victims of the attack started Friday after the government released the bodies to their families earlier this week.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

 
 
 

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