Hunger strike Somalis get asylum
Kenya has granted asylum to 23 Somalis, who had gone on hunger
strike, fearing they would be deported to Mogadishu.
|The refugees will
now be transferred to camps in north Kenya, said UN refugee
agency spokesman Emmanuel Nyabera.
Eighteen other Somalis were put on a plane to Mogadishu from
Nairobi last week, after being refused asylum by Uganda two
deportation was condemned by human rights groups, who said
people should not be sent to a war zone.
Kenya hosts more than 200,000
refugees, mostly from Somalia and South Sudan.
About 60% of Mogadishu
residents have fled the city, the UN says
The 48-strong group of
Somalis had taken commercial flights through Nairobi for Entebbe,
Uganda, but were sent back by the Ugandan authorities allegedly
because their passports were not in order.
Five sick women and children were released last week to seek medical
Last week, UNHCR officials were denied access to the Somalis, mostly
women and children, who had been detained at the Jomo Kenyatta
International airport awaiting deportation.
"We are now registering them and giving them shelter and food, they
will now be able to access international help and protection," Mr
Nyabera told the AFP news agency.
Kenya police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said they suspected the Somalis
were victims of a human trafficking ring and were not refugees as they
The UN says more than one million Somalis are homeless and 60% of
Mogadishu residents have fled their homes - 200,000 in the past two
weeks alone following fighting between Ethiopia-backed government
forces and insurgents.
Meanwhile, Kenya police on Saturday arrested and deported another
group of 50 Somalis who entered the country illegally through the
Liboi border in the north of the country.
The BBC's Bashkash Jugsodaay in Garissa says the group had arrived at
the border in two vehicles but were apprehended by police and deported
Hundreds of people who have fled the fighting in Mogadishu have been
living in makeshift camps in Doble town after Kenya closed its borders
with Somalia last year.