The Kenyan government has decided to close two refugee camp complexes in northern Kenya due to national security concerns, and ordered the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to prepare a plan for relocation of refugees from the camps within two weeks, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday

The Kenyan government has decided to close two refugee camp complexes in northern Kenya due to national security concerns, and ordered the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to prepare a plan for relocation of refugees from the camps within two weeks, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

The camps subjected to closures are the Dadaab complex, hosting around 224,000 refugees, and the Kakuma complex, where about 200,000 people reside. Most of the refugees are from Somalia, and the rest are from other neighboring countries.

“CS @FredMatiangi [Kenyan Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i] issues UNHCR with 14 day ultimatum to have road map on definite closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Says no room for further negotiations,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the authorities reportedly threatened to transport refugees to the border with Somalia if the deadline for the relocation was not met.

The Kenyan government‘s push to close the camp complexes is linked to alleged threats to national security posed by some of the arrivals.

 

Notably, it is not the first attempt of the authorities to close the Dadaab complex. In 2016Kenya announced the plan to close the camps, citing security concerns, as the complexes, particularly the Dadaab camp, were declared sources of terrorism. The allegations are based on several attacks by members of the Al-Shabaab radical group, including an assault on Garissa University College in 2015, an ambush on the Mpeketoni town in 2014, and an attack on the Westgate Mall in 2013.

The government suspected refugees might have helped the attackers.

Kenya and Somalia broke off diplomatic ties in December 2020 after the visit of the leader of self-declared Somaliland to Kenya.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, and while it maintains relations with some nations on the continent, including Kenya, it is not recognized by any nation or organization.

Source: Sputnik

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