UN document shows Kenya seeking to close Somali refugee camp


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An internal United Nations document says Kenya again seeks to close the Dadaab camp that hosts more than 200,000 refugees from neighboring Somalia and is one of the largest such camps in the world.

The U.N. refugee agency document obtained by The Associated Press says it “appreciates” Kenya’s suggestion, made on Feb. 12, to close the camp within six months. But it notes that security remains “precarious” in Somalia, where the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group is based, and says returns must be voluntary.

Kenya calls the refugee camp near the Somalia border a source of insecurity. Some officials have argued that it has been used as a recruiting ground for al-Shabab and a base for launching attacks inside Kenya, but the officials have not provided conclusive proof.

A Kenyan court in 2017 blocked the closure of Dadaab, however, saying it was not safe for refugees to return home.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, confirmed Kenya’s latest plan to close the camp.

Video: Mitt Romney Finally Admits Where His Real Allegiance Has Been the Whole Time

The decision followed the deadly al-Shabab attack on a luxury hotel complex in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in January, he said.

The senior official said plans for the Nairobi attack were made at the Dadaab camp. In the government’s previous attempt to close the camp, it said plans for the 2013 attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead had been made in Dadaab, but it offered no proof.

The internal U.N. document says Kenya suggested alternatives including moving the camp to Kakuma, away from the Kenya-Somalia border. The document also notes Kenya’s national security concerns.

The first settlement in Dadaab was established in 1991, when refugees fleeing conflict in Somalia started to cross the border into Kenya, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

The document says that more than 82,000 refugees had been assisted to return to Somalia under voluntary repatriation as of the end of 2018.


Follow Africa news at

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City