Operations in Dabaab refugee camp were at a standstill for the second day after the host community demonstrated in a bid to have their issues addressed .
Residents carrying placards lit bonfires at the main gate of Dadaab-based UNHCR and its agencies’ headquarters, denying exit for vehicles leaving for operations in the camps.
The demonstrators also refused to give access to NGOs trying to get into the UNHCR-controlled offices.
Contingents of security officers watched from afar as residents danced to singing anti-UNHCR slogans while carrying twigs
The host community is complaining that the refugees have exhausted environment due to charcoal burning and poaching yet there was no plain statement on whether the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would reimburse them.
They were adamant that they want the UNHCR to move out of Dadaab and relocate the refugees to a different location.
They claim the depletion of the environment by the refugees is hugely affecting their livelihoods as they as predominately pastoralists.
“There have been no benefits or compensation whatsoever,” said a resident Nasibo Abdi Farah.
Ms Farah also accused UNHCR and other development partners of neglecting the host community when hiring, its employees.
She further claimed that UNHCR has also given a notice of termination of service for over 100 youth from the host community.
The residents are also complaining about the cutting down of funds to local community-based organisations – Fafi Integrated Development Associations (FaiDA) and Relief, Reconstruction and Development Organisation (RRDO), both based in Dadaab.
Dadaab Deputy County Commissioner Mr Harun Kamau said UNHCR and the host community the arising row is due to the decreased number of refugees because of repatriations, which has affected operations and financial support by UNHCR.
Mr Kamau , also noted that they have been meeting with both the host community and the UN refugee agency and he remains optimistic that a solution will soon be arrived at.
He also admitted that the environment has been sullied over the years the refugee camp has been opened and it could take years to repair it.
UNHCR officials promised to comment on the matter only after it has notified the government.