Kenya Gives UN Three Month Ultimatum to Relocate Somalian Refugees

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Devastating news to vulnerable people

The Government of Kenya has given the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) three months to relocate all Somali refugees in the Dadaab camp back home.

Nearly half a million Somali refugees live in Kenyan camps.

Last year, the UN refugee agency once again called on the international community to secure the protection of asylum seekers from Somalia.

The UNHCR raised concerns over the rising number of Somalis forced to leave their country.

World Report 2015 shows that fighting and abuses against civilians by Al-Shabab militants and government forces continued.

According to the UN, over 1 million people, many of them displaced persons, face acute food insecurity and 120,000 Somalis have been newly displaced since the beginning of 2014, as a result of ongoing military operations.

Somali refugees in the Dadaab camp
Somali refugees in the Dadaab camp, in Kenya

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said on Saturday his government had held talks with the UNHCR officials on the relocation of more a half a million Somali refugees in North Eastern Kenyan camps back to their home in Somalia.

“We have asked the UNHCR to relocate the refugees in three months, failure to which we shall relocate them ourselves,” Ruto said.

He added that the way America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa.

Somalis in the Dadaab camp, Kenya
Somalis in the Dadaab camp, Kenya

William Ruto also announced the building of the over 700 kilometre wall on the Kenya – Somalia border from Mandera to Kiunga saying the construction has already begun.

His said his government will apply all measures and security apparatus at its disposal to secure the country from terror attacks.

A Somali refugee sits with his children in the Dadaab camp, Kenya
A Somali refugee sits with his children in the Dadaab camp, Kenya

“We must secure this country at whatever cost, even if we lose business with Somalia, so be it,” Ruto announced.

The Kenyan deputy president’s comments came just one week following the Al Shabaab attack on Garissa University where over 150 students were killed.

Somali refugees line up for water, in the Kenyan Dadaab camp
Somali refugees line up for water, in the Kenyan Dadaab camp

Omar Wardere is a Somali researcher, reporter and editor. He is a committee member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and member of Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.