Kenya-Armed Militiamen Attack Somali Famine Refugees

Unpaid Militia Make a Living Targeting Refugees

The Kenyan government has recently made a policy of arming Jubaland militias to “protect” the Kenya-Somalia border from infiltration. The militias are armed but most are not paid, leaving them to seek income elsewhere.

This has made the famine crisis into an opportunity, as there are growing reports that the militiamen are attacking the refugees, robbing them and in some cases kidnapping them.

The Kenyan government has long defending the policy, insisting that al-Shabaab is a serious threat to border security and that the Jubaland factions provide something of a foil. With many of them selling their weapons on the open market and others turning to a policy of attacking refugees, the price of this foil is getting dangerously high.

The Kenyan policy reflects the policy of Western nations as well, with the US in particular keen to send crates of small arms into the country with little attention paid to where they wind up after the fact.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.