UN, Kenya strike deal to close Somali refugee camp

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Kenya and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Thursday reached a deal for the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma camps which host close to half a million people, mostly Somali refugees.

Last month, Kenya issued the UNHCR a 14-day ultimatum to formulate a plan on the closure of the refugee camps. Kenya’s Interior Ministry said there is no room for further negotiations.

Interior Minister Fred Matiang’I in a statement said that Kenya had formally communicated to the UNHCR its decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps by June 30, 2022.

The UNHCR promptly responded to the Interior Ministry warning of a catastrophe if the refugees are ejected from the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps which have a population of 218,873 and 196,666, respectively.

Kenya alleges that the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terrorists who attacked Garissa University killing more than 140 students in 2015 had been facilitated by sympathizers from the Dadaab refugee camp, citing it as the main reason for the closure.