MARSABIT, Kenya, Nov 25 – The government has ordered about 4,000 migrants from Ethiopia who have pitched tent at Lataka area, Uran location in Sololo sub-county to go back to their country with immediate effect.
Marsabit County Commissioner Paul Rotich said the 854 households that migrated into the area two months ago were illegally in the country and should move out in order to avert an environmental and health crisis.
Rotich said that the foreigners were not only a threat to the environment but also a security risk.
The County Commissioner noted that lack of food and water back at home was not reason enough to illegally move into Kenya because their government was capable of making the required interventions.
He said that he was in touch with his Ethiopian counterpart who confirmed that adequate rains had been received in their areas of origin and besides that, the Ethiopian government had put in place measures to help its citizens cope with drought.
Rotich said that his office has held discussions with other relevant government agencies and organizations including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and it was found out that the migrants do not qualify as refugees or asylum seekers.
The County Commissioner asked the local administration to ensure that the directive was implemented and that no illegal immigrant was left behind.
The migrants said that they moved to the area in search of food and water after drought wiped out their livestock, their only source of livelihood.
The migrants who are men, women and children settled on the fringes of the Uran trading centre posing a high risk of disease outbreaks like cholera and Covid-19 due to congestion and poor sanitation standards.
The migrants have been setting up a village at Lataka where trees have been cleared as they fetched firewood and materials to construct huts.
There are no toilets nor water with thousands of the migrants resorting to open defecation.
A migrant Boru Jarso said the group migrated from seven areas of Southern Ethiopia that include Shanacha, Gommo, Magado and Melbana.
They appealed to the Kenya government and charitable organizations to consider them for humanitarian aid adding that they do not have access to health services.