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Al Shabab denies it uses refugee camps to launch attacks in Kenya
Sunday, May 15, 2016

MOGADISHU (HOL) – The Somalia-based Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group denied accusations by the Kenyan government that its fighters use refugee camps to launch attacks against the East African nation.

Last week, Kenyan government said it was planning to close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp and send hundred thousands of refugees to other countries, citing ‘reasons of pressing national security, accusing militants of using the camp to launch attacks.

“It’s impossible for us to use camps that house refugees to organize attacks – that’s a lie of which the Kenyan government wants to justify the persecution of people living there, especially Somalis.” said Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, Al Shabab spokesman in interview with the group’s run radio station on Saturday.

Rage had however said that his group would welcome the deportation of Somalis back to their country, saying that they would use their country’s natural resources to live a better life.

In recent years, the semi-arid refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya which hosts over 300,000 people had found itself in Kenyan security’s crosshairs after deadly attacks by the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group.

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Announcing the decision, Kenya’s Ministry of Interior said that the sprawling camp has become a ‘safe haven’ for terrorist groups like Al Shabab.

The plan by the government had also raised concerns among aid agencies that appealed the government to reconsider its decision which risks to uproot a large number of people who have nowhere to return.

In a joint statement, the aid groups OXFAM, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, Save the Children International Rescue Committee, World Vision, the Danish Refugee Council, Jesuit Refugee Service, Action Africa, Help International, the Lutheran World Federation, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Heshima Kenya asked the government warned that the intended closure would create humanitarian crisis.

Established in 1991, the Dadaab camp largely receives people fleeing conflict in Somalia, ethnic violence and prosecutions in some East Africa and horn of African countries.

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