Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Dabaab: Kenya will close world's biggest refugee camp with 350,000 people this year

The United Nations and Western states have warned against forcibly repatriating the 350,000 or so Somalis who still live in the sprawling Dadaab camp in northeast Kenya, saying it would violate international obligations.

But Kenya's Deputy President, William Ruto, speaking at a U.N. humanitarian summit in Istanbul, said the international community had failed Somalia, still struggling to recover from the anarchy of the 1990s.

“When we say the refugee camps pose an existential security threat to Kenya, we have facts, we have figures and we can demonstrate that is indeed the case. That is why we expect the international community to work with Kenya in the framework of the tripartite agreement to expedite the repatriation of these refugees back home because we believe that they can make huge contribution in their home back in Somalia.”

"The refugee camp poses an existential security threat to Kenya," he said, arguing attacks including the Westgate mall rampage in 2013 and the Garissa University massacre in 2015, which claimed hundreds of lives, were planned at Dadaab.

"There is radicalization by extremist elements in the camp, especially of young people," he said. "Their recruitment into terror networks, including al Shabaab and al Qaeda, is a threat to the world ... The route to (Islamic State) is established."

"We understand well our international obligations," he said. "We have unfortunately ... not seen a shared responsibility in Somalia. We not only risk leaving Somalia behind, we risk forgetting Somalia all together."

Kenya wants the international community to build schools and other infrastructure across the border to lure refugees back.

Source: Africa News