Operations resume at Dadaab refugee camp after deal with UNHCR

Thursday December 14 2017

Dadaab refugee complex.

Dadaab refugee camp on July 24, 2011. Operations at the camp have resumed after days of disruption following protests by locals. PHOTO | PHIL MOORE | AFP 

By ABDIMALIK HAJIR
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Operations at the expansive Dadaab refugee camps have resumed after being disrupted for days, following protests by locals over contentious issues.

Confirming to the Nation on Thursday, Dadaab Deputy County Commissioner Harun Kamau said operations resumed after a series of meetings between the host community, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and government officials.

REFUGEES

He said they got a breakthrough after most of the contentious issues were agreed upon by all stakeholders, including local political leaders.

Operations have been paralysed for more than a week after the host community protested against the termination of some UNHCR employees and complained about environmental degradation caused by the refugees.

The locals claimed the UN refugee agency has ignored the plight of host community for the last 26 years whom they accused of causing untold suffering to the community.

"On terminations of employment, which was one of the main issues, the parties agreed to put it on hold for further talks to allow operations to continue as usual," the Dadaab administration told the Nation on the phone.

DEAL

Speaking during the Jamhuri Day celebrations on Tuesday, Garissa Governor Ali Korane said refugees and the host community have been coexisting for the last 26 years and the current stalemate was brought about by the reduced number of refugees due to repatriation.

"As we engage UNHCR we would like to urge our people to remain calm since the county and national governments will get a lasting solution to the current stand-off," he said.

The Nation has learnt that local leaders, including MPs and MCAs, met UNHCR officials from Geneva and brokered a deal.