Kenya has given the United Nations three months to remove a camp housing more than half a million Somali refugees, as part of a get-tough response to the killing of 148 people by Somali gunmen at a Kenyan university.
Kenya has in the past accused Islamist militants of hiding out in Dadaab camp which it now wants the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR to move across the border to inside Somalia.
“We have asked the UNHCR to relocate the refugees in three months, failure to which we shall relocate them ourselves,” Deputy President William Ruto said in a statement on Saturday.
“The way America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa,” he said, referring to the university that was attacked on April 2.
Emmanuel Nyabera, spokesman for the UNHCR in Kenya, said they were yet to receive formal communication from the government on the relocation of Dadaab and could not comment.
The complex of camps hosts more than 600,000 Somali refugees, according to Ruto, in a remote, dry corner in northeast Kenya, about an hour’s drive from Garissa town.
A national security state based around making the terrible lives of over a half-million people significantly worse will surely protect Kenyans. There’s no doubt that the response of the U.S. government after 9/11 that included the invasion of two nations, one of which had nothing to do with the attacks, both endeared the United States to the world, preserved the freedom of Americans inside the nation, and protected its citizens abroad. Clearly, what Kenya needs is to call in Paul Wolfowitz for consultation.