, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Kenya on Monday urged the international community to support its decision to shut down the Dadaab Refugee Camp that hosts the bulk of Somali refugees.
In his quest to sustain Kenya’s explanation that formed the decision, Deputy President William Ruto while addressing the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey also appealed to the international community to channel finances to resettle the refugees to Somalia.
“Kenya has been faithful to her international obligations of humanitarian assistance but no country can shoulder humanitarian responsibilities at the expense of the security of her people and the refugees themselves,” Ruto said.
The two-day summit that kicked off on Monday heard of Kenya’s heavy burden of caring for more than 6,000 refugees amidst threats of terrorism that had turned into a serious security concern for the country.
Ruto said it was unfortunate that the camp had lost its humanitarian character and instead mutated into a centre for radicalisation, planning and training of al Shabaab terrorists as well as a conduit for contraband goods, weapons, electronics and sugar which is killing local industries.
The planning, coordination and the execution of the terrorist attack in Westgate Shopping Mall that killed 67 people in Nairobi, the Garissa University terror attack where 147 mostly students died and the Lamu attack where 67 Kenyans lost their lives, he said, were all traced to the camp.
In the company of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma, Ruto said the country’s contribution and commitment to humanitarianism was beyond question.
Ruto conveyed the same message to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who he met on the sidelines of the meeting.
“We have been steadfast and unparalleled despite the huge cost to the country in monetary, security, environmental and ecological spheres. We are looking forward to discussions on how best to fast-track the repatriation of refugees process so that they can go back and contribute to rebuilding of their country,” he stated.
The Deputy President said it was an insult for anyone to insinuate that Kenya is using the refugee crisis to solicit for funds.
“Kenya has used its own resources for many years to support refugees and help stabilise Somalia. The country spends $100 million annually to support military intervention in Somali.”
The closure of the camp, he said, was being carried out for the best interest of refugees within the framework of the Tripartite Agreement between the Government of Kenya, Federal Government of Somalia and UNHCR.
Ruto said the three years of tripartite agreement was almost coming to an end and Kenya had deployed its resources to return the refugees.