- The UN refugees agency has called on Kenya to halt forcible deportation of Somali asylum seekers in the East African country. The call comes after three Somalis, who were allegedly wounded when crossing the border, were sent back.
The refugees agency said the forcible deportation of asylum seekers goes against the principles of the 1951 Geneva Convention, which Kenya has signed.
"The three, one woman and two men were among several Somalis whose vehicle was intercepted by the border police as it entered Kenyan territory on 16 January," the statement said.
UN refugee spokesman Ron Redmond said police shot at the vehicle carrying 30 people when the driver refused to stop. He said two men and a woman were wounded during the shooting and were subsequently taken about 90 kilometers, to Dadaab, to receive medical attention.
He also said the UNHCR does not know what happened to the other Somali passengers who were also in the bus.
According to UNHCR, Kenyan authorities were informed and a request was made that the refugees should be handed over to the Kenyan Department of Refugee Affairs and UNHCR for further action.
“Despite the call, six policemen turned up at the Dadaab Health Center, where the three asylum seekers were undergoing medical treatment for their bullet wounds, ordered them into a police van and drove them to the border," the agency said.
Mr Redmond said the authorities have confirmed that the Somali asylum seekers had been returned to Somalia. "We do know that some 60,000 Somalis did enter Kenya last year," he said.
Somalis have been fleeing the conflict ridden country recently, where the government and rebel clashes have killed 16,000 civilians and a million more have been forced from their homes.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, since when various militias have been battling for control.
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