Kenya will hold back its decision to close Daadab camp until peace in Somalia is restored, the country’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery has said.
The Minister said Sunday the refugee verification exercise is complete but the process of repatriation may take longer given the security situation in Somalia.
“We said verification should be completed by the end of July which we have done. I have the report with me. So we are in the right direction. We are just waiting for the world to pacify Somalia for them to be able to go,” said Nkaissery.
Nkaissery said Kenya will further present its case in a UN meeting in New Yorkon 20th of September this yeat where the modalities of the repatriation will start.
The East African nation which has hosted Somali refugees for more than two decades had indicated early in the year it would close Dadaab camp by November 30 this year.
The announcement today coincides with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the country. The US has been in the forefront urging Kenya to reconsider its position until the security situation in Somalia stabilizes.
But Kenya has strongly defended its position noting the presence of refugees was posing a security threat to the country especially in the wake of terror attacks from the militant group Al-Shabaab. Kenya further said the Dadaab camp which hosts upwards of half a million refugees was putting a strain to resources denying its citizens resources in the regions where the camps are located.
In 2013, Kenya, Somalia and the refugee agency UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement which would have facilitated refugees voluntarily move to Somalia.