Dadaab residents have been urged to collaborate for peace and security in North Eastern Kenya. They received a call to action, encouraging them to actively participate in safeguarding the area. Vitalis Ogur, the Dadaab Assistant County Commissioner, emphasized last week that every individual has a significant role to play in not only achieving but also sustaining peace and security.
Dadaab, Garissa County, KENYA. By Yahya:
The appeal was made during a security meeting that convened peace committee elders from Dadaab, Dagahaley, and Ifo, underscoring collaborative efforts to ensure the region’s safety. Dadaab, home to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) base hosting refugees and asylum seekers, has experienced a history of attacks targeting both security personnel and civilians.
In a troubling incident in March, five police officers from the Border Patrol Unit lost their lives in separate incidents along the Garissa-Dadaab road due to improvised explosive devices (IED), causing their vehicles to engulf in explosions. Following these events, security personnel and residents have seemingly united against the threat, vowing to eliminate the presence of militants and their sympathizers.
Collective responsibility for maintaining a security
Mr Ogur, accompanied by sub-county security committee members, stressed that the key to addressing insecurity lies in the collaboration between residents and the security apparatus. He stated, “We are all in agreement that matters of security can only be addressed when we unite our voices. Through full cooperation and sharing actionable intelligence with the security apparatus, we can make significant progress in this regard.”
Addressing the criminal elements that may still be hiding within the town and camps, Ogur warned that the government would take strong measures against such individuals. He emphasized the importance of identifying and removing troublemakers from the community, underlining the collective responsibility of maintaining a secure environment.
Osman Ibrahim Abdi, the Dadaab sub-county peace chairman, extended his gratitude to the security apparatus for their proactive approach and swift response to received intelligence. He acknowledged their efforts in preserving peace and security within the region.
Somali officials not welcome to hold meetings in Garissa’s “big hotels”
Despite the commendable security efforts, Mr Osman raised concerns about meetings held by politicians from different factions of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Jubaland State administration. Mr Osman deems these gatherings a potential threat to local security, as they could ignite hatred among local communities and exacerbate tensions. Osman emphasized that Somali internal political matters should not involve local Kenyan communities.
“Our message is very clear. Anyone seeking any seat, be it in Somalia, Ethiopia or Jubaland, to go and campaign there. We don’t want to see them bringing animosity between our communities and raising unnecessary tension with meetings that they keep holding in those big hotels. That we will not allow,” he told the Star.
Garissa holds a pivotal position within the politics of the extended Ogaden community, which is why politicians from the Somali government and Jubaland frequently convene there and in Nairobi to engage in discussions with fellow clan members.
Hosting refugees since 1991
According to the UNHCR, as of July 2020, the Dadaab refugee complex had a population of 218,873 registered refugees and asylum seekers. However, there is also an unknown number of unregistered refugees. Kenya hosts approximately 600,000 refugees, with the population divided almost equally between Dadaab and Kakuma refugee complexes.