The closure of the Dadaab refugee camp and repatriation of Somali refugees will be carried out humanely, Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed told a tripartite meeting yesterday.
She met Somali Foreign Affairs minister Abdisalam Omer and representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for Kenya and Somalia in her office to review the limited success in repatriating refugees since the signing of the Tripartite Agreement in November 2013.
Both ministers committed to working together for a successful repatriation.
The Cabinet Secretary said the government had set up a task force to handle the repatriation.
Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, the leader of Jubaland, has promised 10,000 hectares north of Kismayu to resettle the 500,000 Dadaab residents, another Kenyan official told the Star.
Preliminary designs for the new camp have been completed and the Islamic Development Bank will provide the seed funding. The Kenyan government has already mobilised Sh1 billion and 6,000 tents for the camp, the official said.
Mohamed’s meeting expressed concern at the international neglect of the Somali displacement and refugee crisis.
“Somalis are very grateful to Kenyans for keeping our nationals for more than 20 years. They have given them homes, investment opportunities and lived in Kenya as their home. We appreciate Kenya and are sure it will carry out the current exercise in the most humane manner,” Omer said.
He confirmed that the Somali government is ready to receive the refugees and appealed to the international community to help finance the exercise.
One complication is the Dadaab residents will become IDPs if they are in Somalia and therefore not refugees eligible for support from the UNHCR.
Last month, the Kenya government confirmed that it wanted Dadaab closed by November. However, the Kakuma refugee camp will not be closed