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Kenya deports more illegal immigrants amid security crackdown

Thursday May 8, 2014

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Thursday deported 50 more illegal immigrants to Somalia as security crackdown aimed at ridding off the East African nation off criminal elements is intensified.

The aliens who have been living in Kenya without valid documents were sent back home after staying in custody for almost two weeks. They are part of the more than 200 illegal aliens who have been slated for deportation.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo confirmed the deportation, saying the security operations on illegal immigrants are ongoing.

"We are determined to deport them safely. We will deport more once they are caught," said Kimaiyo.

He said more than 400 people have also been repatriated to their designated refugee camps after they were found to have left there.

The refugees include 406 Somalis, two Ethiopians, one Congolese, two Ugandans and one Sudanese. "The government policy is that all illegal aliens must be deported to their countries of origin," said Kimaiyo.

The aliens were arrested in the ongoing security operation in Nairobi alone. More than 100 others are in custody.

More than 200 Ethiopians enter Kenya illegally every month through the vast porous boundary which is largely unmanned.

On several occasions, illegal Ethiopian immigrants were discovered locked up in congested rooms in Nairobi and Mombasa but the trade continues to thrive even as many were repatriated. The immigrants are said to be using Kenya as their transit route to other countries such as South Africa or other European countries.

The deportation comes after Kenya ordered all refugees living in urban areas to return to their camps in a bid to end attacks by armed groups carried out in retaliation for Kenya's intervention in neighboring Somalia.

Kenyans were also asked to report any refugees or illegal immigrants outside the overcrowded camps -- Dadaab in the east and Kakuma in the northwest -- to the police.

Kenyan security officials believe armed groups have used the refugee camps as bases to prepare attacks and then mingled with residents in urban areas to carry them out.

However, the UN refugee agency has called on the government to reconsider its directive to move about 50,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers from urban areas to overcrowded and underserviced refugee camps.

According to UNHCR, all communities are affected by insecurity, and scapegoating refugees is not an answer, adding that blanket implementation of encampment measures is arbitrary and unreasonable, and carries a threat to human dignity.

Meanwhile, Kasarani divisional police commander Augustine Nthumbi also said a group of 80 Congolese nationals who were found living illegally refused to be searched and vetted.

The group had been arrested in an overnight swoop in the city pending their repatriation when they started to riot in defiance.

Nthumbi said the aliens also stole the officer's mobile phone but it was recovered later after police had lobed a teargas canister into a holding area at the police station in the Wednesday drama.

They attacked and injured a police officer who tried to escort them from the cells to a waiting lorry for screening at Karasni grounds.

"They were refusing to get out of the cells because they don't want to be repatriated. We reinforced the team and took them to Kasarani for screening," said Nthumbi.

Majority of those found living in the country are Somalis, Ethiopians and Congolese whose easy access in the country has been blamed on porous borders and corruption at the points of entry and exit respectively.

Most of those in custody were individuals who are in the country illegally without valid documents, those who were outside the precincts of legally gazetted areas and those who had unauthenticated documents.


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