In Pictures: Somalis exiled from Nairobi - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Somalis exiled from Nairobi

Al Jazeera follows the forced removal of Somali nationals from the Kenyan capital to the country's arid north.

Phil Moore | | Human Rights, War & Conflict, Africa, Kenya, Refugees

Kenya - Following Kenya's worst terrorism incident in decades and a string of smaller-scale attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa, police launched a security crackdown in early April, known as "Operation Usalama Watch".

Kenyan authorities rounded up thousands of ethnic Somalis, mostly from the capital's Eastleigh neighbourhood, which has been dubbed "Little Mogadishu". Rights groups condemned the arbitrary arrests, detentions, extortion and other abuses during the security operations. "Somalis are scapegoats in Kenya's counter-terrorism crackdown," an Amnesty report claimed. 

Kenya's interior cabinet secretary ordered every refugee to return to the over-crowded and under-serviced refugee camps - primarily Kakuma and Dadaab, two large refugee camps in Kenya's arid north. Those who refused to do so were flown to the war-torn Somali capital, Mogadishu. Those who stayed in Nairobi faced extortion, violence and arbitrary arrests at the hands of the Kenyan police. 

Hundreds of people voluntarily travelled from the Kenyan capital to Kakuma refugee camp by bus, their tickets paid for by the UN refugee agency. The journey takes two days. Leaving the capital, the bus travels through the lush green farmlands of the Rift Valley into the harsh, dry environment of Turkana.

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