Fears for their lives – this is the main reason why refugees inside Kenya’s Dadaab camp do not want to go back to their home country, the very same reason they become refugees in the first place.
Back in February, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki spoke at London Conference on Somalia and told the attending leaders that the overcrowded Dadaab camps have posed “growing and serious security threats to Kenya and the region,” requesting assistance to the international humanitarian community to help bring back Somalis to their native land where many places are already liberated by the Kenyan Defense Forces and the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Reports of Fighting Continues
But it looks like it’s not the real score as the refugee camp keeps on growing its numbers due to continue fighting.
In fact, as Human Rights Watch Laetitia Bader told IRIN, “We’re continuing to see ambushes from Al-Shabab, so I would be very skeptical of the safety of that so-called safe zone,” adding that, “Somali refugees in Dadaab at the moment have real problems, but we’re not seeing large numbers of people going back to these areas.”
And though staying inside Dadaab refugee camp has been a little dangerous nowadays, going back to Somalia plays even harder.
“It is not safe there. Even though Dadaab is becoming insecure these days, we cannot choose to go to a more dangerous and battle-filled zone,” Muktar Ahmed, a 38-year-old resident of Ifo Camp told IRIN.
Farhan Mumin, who has stayed at Dadaab for two decades now, said, “I would not mind going back to my home country, but I don’t want to be an internally displaced person (IDP). I will only go when the situation fully recovers.”
Safe and Stable Somalia
For deputy regional director for the International Rescue Committee Kellie Leeson, “It’s a difficult situation when you have protracted [refugee] situations, especially where a clear resolution is not obvious and there’s no definitive end point.”
And though everyone’s goal is to have all the refugees return to Somalia, safety should come first, “Everybody agrees that a return to a safe and stable Somalia is the best long-term solution, but we don’t have that situation right now.”