KENYA- Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery yesterday linked some workers at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to terrorism in Kenya.
He warned that stern action would be taken against the culprits.
Mr Nkaissery also revealed that refugee camps in the country, particularly in the Dadaab complex, had become a haven for terrorists and their agents. He called for the repatriation of refugees to Somalia.
The linking of the UNHCR staff to terrorism is likely to give a new twist to efforts by the government to have the hundreds of thousands of refugees living in camps in Kenya repatriated.
“We are very concerned about the alleged involvement or complacency of some UNHCR personnel, who facilitate terrorist activities in this country,” he said.
The minister spoke during the 66th session of the Executive Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mr Nkaissery said the final planning and logistical support for nearly all the terrorist attacks in Kenya were executed under the cover of the refugee camps.
“The planning of the Westgate attack was finalised in the camps. The weapons used in the attack on Garissa University College earlier this year were ferried and hidden in the camps,” he said.
Last week, security agents uncovered a large cache of arms as well as phones in Dadaab.
“These camps have also become conduits for contraband and counterfeit goods, with serious ramifications for the country’s economy,” said the minister.
On security reports regarding the UNHCR staff, Mr Nkaissery said the government was analysing the situation and would take necessary measures.
“This reality, uncomfortable as it may be, must be addressed. We cannot, as a country, continue to offer asylum and protection to populations in areas that have been taken over by criminal elements,” he said.
Kenya hosts more than a half a million refugees in camps.