Wednesday, March 24, 2021 – The diplomatic relations between Kenya and Somalia have taken a dangerous turn which may be detrimental to Somalia.

This is after the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, through the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, issued two weeks ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) to close two of the world’s largest refugee camps located in Kenya which hosts more than 500,000 refugees from Somalia.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i delivered the letter bearing the government’s decision to the UNHCR representative to Kenya Fadhilaa Addala on Tuesday, March 23 which noted with concern the rising terror threats planned from Dadaab and Kakuma refugees’ camps. 

“There is no room for negotiation.”

“We must strike a balance between Kenya’s international obligation and her domestic duties.”

“We do have a domestic responsibility to protect Kenya,” the letter read in parts.

Abdala said that she would present the matter to UNHCR senior officials and said that the commission was committed to finding new solutions that would see the refugees reduced in Kenya.  

In the letter, Kenya cited terror threats as the main reason for its latest request and neglect by other countries to aid in managing the over 500,000 refugees from Somalia.

Matiang’i, who was in the company of Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and CAS Hussein Dado, said that the past Mpeketoni, Lamu, Garrisa and Westgate attacks were planned and executed from the said refugee camps.

In addition to terror threats in the country and the draining of resources, the CS also noted that the government’s effort to have war-torn areas where Al Shabaab operates in Somalia to be labeled as terrorist organizations have been hindered continuously.

If the two weeks lapse without the UNHCR taking any action, the government is set to have the refugees deported back to their countries of origin. 

Kenya’s decision comes amidst the ongoing maritime case with Somalia which Kenya has accused the International Court of Justice of failure to honour its request to have the new team of lawyers prepare sufficiently for the case. 


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