In the extreme north of Kenya, not far from the South Sudanese border, is a hot, dusty and waterless place called nowhere. Or Kakuma, as it translates in the local Turkana language. Since 1992, Kakuma is the place that the Kenya government has chosen to give temporary shelter to hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping from conflict in the neighboring countries: Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda. “Temporary” is often an inadequate term: for many refugees have been living in the Kakuma camp for decades, and have no perspective to return to their countries anytime soon.
Today the Kakuma camp is not only home to over 180,000 refugees, which makes it one of the largest in the world, but it is also a nightmare for Nairobi: with porous borders, an area too wide to keep under thorough control, and some self proclaimed refugees attempting to cross into Kenya with a hidden agenda, Kakuma could become a safe heaven and a convenient logistic base for the Somali al-Shabaab Islamic terrorists. And some believe it may well already be one.