Kerry visits Kenya to offer help against Al Shabab

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits Kenya to show US support against Al Shabab militants

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Addressing the latest deadly attacks staged in Kenya, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered help to Kenya in countering Al Shabaab militants on Sunday.

Touching over human rights with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other officials, Kerry also discussed the troubled peace process in South Sudan and violence in Burundi, a US official said to Reuters.

The visit comes as the Kenyan government threatened to close the world’s largest refugee camp to date, located in the town of Dadaab, and implied to send around 350,000 refugees back to Somalia last week.

Both Washington and the United Nations have said they are concerned about Nairobi's decision to close the camp in a bid to stem militant attacks.

Kerry's visit followed the killing of 148 people by Al Shabab militants in an attack on the university in Garissa in April, located in northern Kenya.

"We will be looking at additional ways that we may be able to support Kenyan efforts to fight Al Shabab," the official said to Reuters, without giving details.

According to the Washington Post, Kenyan officials view the camp as a national security threat, including groups aligned with militant organizations to plan attacks, fearing an attack resembling the one targeting Garissa University College.

The Dadaab camp was constructed in 1991 as a temporary solution for refugees fleeing Somalia’s civil war.

It is now a sprawling city hosting nearly 350,000 people. Forcing refugees out of camp will not only be a logistical issue but also a humanitarian disaster, aid officials said.

The drastic situation in Kenya creates concerns of new probable illegal refugee migrations, resulting in boat disasters similar to the one in which 700 migrants died in April when an overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.