The US government has pledged 45 million US dollars to Kenya to help it deal with refugees from Somalia and South Sudan.
Speaking during a briefing in Nairobi, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that they will play a vital role to help resolve conflict in the two war torn countries so as to provide a sense of security in Kenya which has been facing terror threats from Somalia based Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab.
“Events in Kenya and the broader region present us with a broad array of tests. The threat posed by violent extremism is regrettably foremost among them,” Kerry said.
“Kenya also needs international assistance and international solidarity on another matter – that is the challenge of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to this country for protection from persecution, fear, and war.”
Kenya, home to over 550,000 refugees is looking to shut down its Dadaab camp, which houses more than 400,000 refugees mainly Somalis. This directive came after the attack in a Kenyan university that left at least 147 people dead, most of them students last month.
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This is not the first time government officials are seeking to shut down the refugee camp claiming it is a ‘breeding ground’ for terrorists.
During a spate of terror attacks in 2013 and 2014, the government directed all immigrants on its soil to two designated camps - Dadaab and Kakuma. The two camps are known for being secluded and overrun with refugees.
According to UNHCR, Kenya is the fifth stop in the world for asylum seekers after Pakistan, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon. The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.
The US government has also announced that they will give the country an additional 100 million US dollars in aid to fight against terrorism.
“This funding is part of our effort to maintain our longstanding commitment and Kenya’s longstanding commitment to be able to provide haven to refugees,” Kerry said.
“We know that defeating terrorism requires a long-term effort. It requires a comprehensive strategy. Border security, law enforcement actions are a big part of the equation.”
Kerry also noted that it is important for not only the Kenyan government but also other governments to ‘persuade and prevent’ the youth from joining militant groups.
On Monday, Kenya announced that it had apprehended and charged individuals over recruitment of youth in the coastal part of Kenya to join Al-Shabaab.