Kenya on Wednesday ordered for the closure of the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i issued the United Nations High Commission (UNHCR) with a 14-day ultimatum to generate a roadmap that will highlight the closure of the two camps that play host to more than 410,000 refugees, a large portion of whom are from Somali.
In a firm statement, CS Matiang’i said the decision has no room for discussion.
“CS Matiang’i issues UNHCR with a 14-day ultimatum to have a roadmap on definite closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Says no room for further negotiations,” said the Interior Ministry.
Nairobi has had intentions to shut down the Daadab camp since 2016, citing national security concerns.
Kenya argued that the refugee camps are the terror plotting homes for the Al- Shabaab militants.
The matter was taken to court and Justice John Mativo stopped the plans, saying that then Interior CS, the late Joseph Nkaissery, and PS Kibicho had acted beyond their powers
In 2019, Kenya lost 21 citizens through a terror attack on Dusit D2 Hotel in Nairobi, where one of the terrorist was pictured in Dagahaley Refugee Camp in the larger Dadaab before conducting the attack.
The Kenyan government seems hellbent this time round, informing UNCHR on Tuesday that it would take the refugees to the border with Somalia if the camps are not closed.
The UNHCR, however, has urged Kenyan Government to ensure that any decision taken considers the protection and well-being of those residing in the two camps.
“The decision would have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement.
This move comes even as the relations between Kenya and Somalia worsen, as a result of a protracted maritime border dispute that is now at the International Court of Justice. Kenya has boycotted the hearing of the case.
In December, Mogadishu had cut ties with Nairobi, citing interference in its internal affairs.