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Dadaab refugee camp to close permanently in August 2019

Wednesday March 27, 2019

Tents fill the outskirts of Dagahaley refugee camp in Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex on July 24, 2011.PHOTO | PHIL MOORE | AFP

The Dadaab refugee camp - the largest in the world, will be no more by the end of August 2019, the government has announced.

Dadaab which is well over three decades old, houses more than 230,000 refugees, but the government is intent on shutting it down.

A document from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) stated there was a verbal note from the Kenyan government that the Dadaab camp, which is pre dominantly occupied by Somali refugees would be closed down within a six-month period.

The note dated February 19 requested the UNHCR to facilitate the relocation of the refugees.

Furthermore, the UNHCR also expressed willingness to work with the government to ensure voluntary repatriation of the refugees to their respective countries of origin.

Majority of the refugees started camping at Dadaab, in Garissa county from 1991 following the civil war in Somalia.

Closure of the camp has always been on the cards for the Kenyan government, with the most recent push for its closure coming in 2016. At the time, it was strongly alleged the camp was a training grounds for al-Shabaab militia who could easily radicalise youth.

Under the repatriation package, thousands of Somali nationals returned to their native country, although the camp somehow managed to survive closure.

In 2017, the High Court ruled against closure of the camp, terming it unconstitutional on grounds shutting it would amount to breaching international obligations.


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