Relief SCENE:Refugees
Gunmen Attack Aid Worker in Dadaab
Attack Raises Issue of Insecurity in Somali Refugee Camp
By ADOW JUBAT 06/18/2011
UPDATE as of June 20 - Police recovered the vehicle today after gunmen abandoned it in a thicket of bushes 45km west of Amuma. The gunmen fled into the bush on foot after police chased them during a ground and aerial operation.

Three armed Somalis attacked an aid worker and stole his vehicle at the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab in eastern Kenya, raising fears about security for humanitarian workers in the sprawling complex.

The incident happened in Hagadera, one of three camps that make up the complex, which hosts around 300,000 mainly Somali refugees despite behind designed for less than a third of that number. It came just three days after two refugees were killed by gunmen.

Harun Rashid Qator, district commissioner in charge of Fafi district, under which Hagadera camp falls, said three armed men believed to be militia from Somali border town of Dhobley attacked the driver, who works for an international aid agency, and took his keys as he left a hotel.

“The three men armed with pistols hit the driver on the forehead before forcibly taking the ignition keys from him and making away with vehicle,” he said.

Eyewitness Mohamed Hassan said the hijackers appeared to have fled across the porous Kenya-Somalia border.

“Immediately after the driver stepped out the hotel they positioned themselves strategically around the vehicle ... even before he sat completely, one of them pounced on the driver brandishing pistols, while others jumped into the vehicle before speeding off to the Somali side of the border.”

Aid workers in Dadaab live in protected compounds and are requested to fully strict security procedures to protect them from insecurity and criminality in the regions around the camp.