Kenyan authorities are sending hundreds of Somali refugees who have crossed into Kenya back to volatile Somalia
Aid workers say 4,000 Somalis are holed up in the Somali town of Dhobley, about 25 kilometers from the Kenyan border, wanting to cross over into Kenya to escape the volatility of Somalia.
Several-hundred refugee claimants were able to make it to a reception center managed by the U.N. refugee agency and the Kenya Red Cross Society in the Kenyan town of Liboi, only to be turned back. Police also barred the Kenya Red Cross from entering the reception center.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Millicent Mutuli, tells VOA Kenyan police deported at least 364 Somali refugee claimants.
"There was a large presence of police and military in the area," she said. "They were said to be interrogating the asylum seekers. We have pretty good reports that trucks have been seen leaving the reception center and basically taking people back to Somalia. Two trucks had already left this morning and a third truck was being loaded."
Mutuli says her agency has been trying to contact Kenya's immigration and foreign affairs ministries for the past couple of days, and it intends to protest the deportations the agency says violate international refugee policy.
A police commander in the area, Johnstone Limo, confirms to VOA that the deportations took place.
"Yes, we do not want them. We do not want them to come to our country. We do not want them because we want them to solve their problem when they are in their country," said Limo.
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