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Kenya: registration team to recount Pemba/Zanzibaris

Briefing notes

Kenya: registration team to recount Pemba/Zanzibaris

3 April 2001

UNHCR this morning dispatched a registration team to the Kenyan coastal town of Shimoni to conduct a new head count of Tanzanian refugees from Pemba and Zanzibar, after the Kenyan authorities last week said that about 1,000 of an estimated 2,300 refugees had left the harbour's crammed fisheries compound.

UNHCR has registered a total of 2,300 refugees from Pemba and Zanzibar since the violent clashes between Civic United Front (CUF) and the Tanzanian police on January 27. The Kenyan authorities wanted them to remain within the fisheries compound until their requests for refugee status are decided. UNHCR has found it difficult to extend normal humanitarian assistance within the compound, which is designed to hold no more than 600 people. While tents have been provided, some refugees have been sleeping in the open because of lack of space.

The rainy season has further compounded the already difficult conditions for these refugees. UNHCR currently estimates that up to 150 refugees may have voluntarily returned home, while the rest have moved in with families and friends around the coastal fishing town.

The Kenyan authorities have arrested 29 Tanzanian citizens in and around Shimoni town. UNHCR has identified nine of these as refugees and is negotiating their release to the Shimoni camp. The other Tanzanians are believed to be from mainland Tanzania and their reasons for moving to Kenya are yet to be established by the Kenyan police.