Refugees Camps and Security of Host Community: Case of Dadaab, Garissa County, Kenya (1991 – 2012)
Kaboyo, Lydia Njeri
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Refugees have been associated with perpetration of numerous security incidents in the host communities and countries. These range from perpetrating and aiding terror activities in the host country to theft and robberies within the refugee camps and the environs. Countries perceived to be allies of USA have particularly borne the brunt. Following the conflicts in the horn of Africa, Kenya has been affected in terms of security. The displacement of people, with majority crossing the common borders, has led to a refugee burden that has exerted pressure not only on the resources of the host communities but also on the security of the host countries. It has been established that refugee camps have been breeding ground of terrorism where some heinous acts such as the Westgate Mall attack in September of 2013 and DusitD2 hotel in January 2019were planned from. The high populations in the refugee camps and the porous entry routes in the camps make them easily accessible by terrorists. With the refugees moving out of the camps to areas such as Eastleigh and Kasarani in Nairobi, there have been fears that this will extend the terror networks closer to critical installations and populated areas, which are attractive to terrorists. In terms of objectives, the study sought to analyze how Dadaab refugee camp has affected the security of the host community, to examine reasons why refugee camps are preferred by insecurity perpetrators and to assess security mitigation measures to curb insecurity perpetrated through Dadaab refugee camp. The study was anchored on social disorganization theory as developed through a research conducted in Chicago by McKay and Shaw. The study used mixed design approach incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods. The target population of the study was211,701 registered refugees in Dadaab refugee camp complex. Simple random sampling was used to sample the registered refugees while purposive sampling technique was used to sample the key informants. The sample size of 150 respondents comprising of 80 males and 70 females of 18 years and above was drawn from the population using Yamane’s formula on the sample size. Sixty key informants comprising of staff of organizations dealing with refugee and the Kenya police was purposively sampled from a population of 730 staff. Questionnaires were used to collect primary data from the respondents while interview guide were used to collect primary data from the key informants. Qualitative data was analyzed through thematic method and inferential statistics, while quantitative data was presented using percentages, frequency tables and charts with the help of SPSS. The study was expected to establish the link between refugee camps and security incidents in host countries. According to the findings 54% of the respondents, agreed Dadaab refugee camp has contributed towards the insecurity of its host community. Moreover, 52% of the respondents stated that the security in the refugee camp ought to be improved. Furthermore, 46.7% of the respondents stated that unemployment was a reason why terrorist prefer refugee camps. The study concluded that refugee camps contribute to insecurity of the Host Community. The study also concluded that refugees are victims of insecurity just like Kenyans. The help to combat the negative security effects of refugee camps, the study recommended: Involving the refugees in providing security information in the camps. Prompt and random crackdowns to take in to the camp refugees be a collaborated activities between the Kenyan Government and UNHCR. Additionally, all security loopholes should be looked into; proper documentation of refugees in Kenya to enable the law enforcers identifies the registered refugees. The government of Kenya through different media platforms should conduct media campaigns to sensitize the community and refugees of the obligations under the law. The study suggests that a research should be conducted on involvement of refugees and asylum seekers in fighting terrorism and insecurity.