NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31 – The Dadaab refugee camp will be closed before the end of November this year, according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.
In a briefing on Tuesday evening, Nkaissery told journalists that Kenya is ready to implement a tripartite agreement signed by parties on a safe and humane way of repatriating the refugees.
“We will prepare the issues of security of refugees, the most humane way of to go but this is a United Nations exercise; we are there to help them,” he asserted.
“The Government of Somalia is ready to receive their citizens.”
He was a speaking after receiving a report from the taskforce appointed early this month in a bid to establish all possible hurdles into the process.
The taskforce was headed by Joseph Irungu as Chairperson and the members included Maj Gen (Rtd) Dr Gordon Kihalangwa, Dr Martin Kimani, Dr Richard E. Ndubai, Amb Mohamud A. Saleh and Reuben M. Kimotho.
Others are Brig. George O. Walwa, Catherine Bunyassi, Catherine B. Mogaka, Boniface Maingi, Naman N. Owuor and Haron C. Komen.
The CS is later on set to present the report to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya has offered Sh1 billion to fund the process, which the minister says must be implemented, due to security threats posed by the continued existence of the camp.
He said the decision to close the Dadaab refugee camp will not change because it has become a hosting ground for Al Shabaab terrorists.
According to the government, key terror attacks in the country like Westgate, Lamu and Garissa University College that claimed hundreds of lives were planned in the camp hosting more than 600,000 refugees mainly from the war torn Somalia.
The drastic decision has sparked outrage from the international community, with the United Nations warning of what it described as ‘devastating consequences.”
“Refugee camps are not permanent settlements, they are not migration centres, and yet this seems to be what refugee camps in Kenya have been turned into,” the CS stated on May 11, when the taskforce was gazetted.
“Refugee camps are supposed to be a temporary humanitarian remedy awaiting stabilisation of their countries of origin. Many of you may recall we have hosted refugees from many countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan and Somalia.”
He said Kenyan tax payers have paid dearly during the 25 years of existence of the camp.
“The camps are now completely overcrowded. They were built for far less numbers and the International Community has never moved to address this. The environmental impact has been disastrous for host communities,” the CS complained.