69% of Kenyans support repatriation of Somali refugees – IPSOS
More than half of Kenyan citizens (69 per cent) support the government’s decision to repatriate Somali refugees back to Somalia, a survey by research firm IPSOS has revealed.
The survey released on Thursday further stated that the support is higher in Jubilee-aligned areas compared to CORD regions.
The survey pointed at concerns by Kenyans on the security situation in the country, with most of them feeling that the presence of KDF soldiers in Somalia has an effect on Kenya’s security situation.
This report was released just a day after the government announced the postponement of a plan to repatriate the refugees and close the Dadaab refugee camp.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery announced the government’s resolution to extend the planned repatriation by six months, saying the decision was advised by human rights groups’ request for an extension due to what they termed as the delicate situation in Somalia.
Nkaissery, who was speaking after a meeting with officials from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and Somali Ambassador to Kenya, Jamal Mohamed Hassan, said that the extension will also give the international community time to ensure peace and security is restored in Somalia.
He also revealed an elaborate six-month repatriation programme set to begin in December, insisting it will be carried out in a humane and safe manner.
Additionally, 38 per cent of Kenyans, according to the survey, want KDF soldiers withdrawn from Somalia to guard the Kenyan borders, while 29 per cent want them to stay in Somalia.
Meanwhile, the IPSOS survey reported a divided opinion on which foreign countries Kenya should relate with, with US ranking slightly higher than China at 25 per cent to 24 per cent.
The sample population for this survey was Kenyans aged 18 years and above, and living in urban and rural areas, spread across 41 counties where 2,067 people were interviewed.
The margin of error attributed to sampling and other random effects for the entire sample is +/-2.16 with a 95 per cent confidence level.