All Somali refugees in Kenya have been ordered to leave urban areas and return to camps following a spate of grenade attacks.
Aid will no longer be delivered to those who remain in urban areas, said the head of Kenya’s refugee agency.The attacks have mostly been carried out in areas with a large ethnic Somali population, such as the north-east and the Eastleigh district of Nairobi.
They are believed to have been carried out by the al-Shabab militant group.Al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, has not commented on the claims.
But it has warned that it would take revenge on Kenya, after it sent its troops into Somalia last year to help the UN-backed government seize territory back from al-Shabab.
All Somali refugees have been ordered to report to the north-eastern Dadaab camps – the world’s biggest – which already house some 500,000 people. More than 30,000 Somali refugees live in Nairobi, the AFP news agency quotes the UN as saying.
“The government of Kenya has decided to stop reception, registration and close down all registration centres in the urban areas with immediate effect,” read a statement from Badu Katelo, Kenya’s acting commissioner for refugee affairs.
“UNHCR and other partners serving refugees are asked to stop providing direct services to asylum seekers and refugees in the urban areas and transfer the same services to the refugee camps.”
The latest attack in Eastleigh came on Sunday, when three grenades were thrown at a shop, injuring several people.
Two similar incidents have killed at least 13 people recently, leading to increased tension in Nairobi between ethnic Somalis and other Kenyans.
There are many ethnic Somalis who have always lived in Kenya, while hundreds of thousands of people have fled across the border since Somalia descended into chaos two decades ago.