Kenyan Government Closes Down Two Refugee Camps, Tells UNHCR to Finish in Two Weeks

Kenyan authorities have ordered the closure of two camps which are home to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, giving UNHCR two weeks to plan for the shutdown.

The Dadaab and Kakuma camps in Northern Kenya house more than 410,000 refugees, some of which are from South Sudan.

The Interior Minister, Fred Matiang’i gave the UNHCR 14 days to draw up a plan for the closure of the two camps. He added that there was no room for further talks.

In a press statement, the UNHCR urged Kenya to keep protecting those who need it, stating that “the decision would have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Kenyan authorities first announced plans to shut down the Dadaab camp which is close to the border with Somalia in 2016, citing national security concerns after intelligence reports showed that two large attacks on Kenyan targets in 2013 and 2015 took place with the involvement of people in the camps.

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