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Registration of Somalis fleeing to Kenya resumes, UN refugee agency reports

Registration of Somalis fleeing to Kenya resumes, UN refugee agency reports

Young boy is fingerprinted at Liboi reception centre
After a two-week suspension, the United Nations refugee agency announced today that registration of new Somali refugees seeking asylum in Kenya had resumed with the introduction of new security procedures aimed at curbing false claims.

The government had ordered the suspension of an exercise led by UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to register and transfer the refugees from the border region of Liboi to the Dadaab camps that already shelter nearly 160,000 Somalis fleeing fighting and drought in their own country.

The move came because some Kenyan nationals were presenting themselves as refugees, while some Somalis who had already registered in the camps were posing as new arrivals in a bid to get more assistance.

Under new screening and registration procedures, refugees will be fingerprinted and the prints sent immediately to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, for cross-matching against the country’s records. The National Registration Bureau will also check the prints against a UNHCR database of persons registered as refugees.

Since the beginning of the year, some 32,000 Somali refugees have fled to Kenya to escape rising insecurity in southern and central Somalia as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) expands its influence beyond the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and jockeys for power with the Transitional Federal Government in Baidoa and various warlord militias.

Amid fears that the influx could climb to 80,000 by the end of the year, the UN in October issued an emergency appeal for $35 million to meet the increased needs over the next six months.