Court summons PS Kibicho over Dadaab Refugee Camp closure

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho. PHOTO: File

The High Court has summoned Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho to appear before it on Tuesday to explain which body has taken over the functions of the disbanded Department of Refugee Affairs.

This follows the government’s move to close the Dadaab Refugee Complex, which hosts over 300,000 Somali refugees.

Justice Luka Kimaru issued the directive following a case filed by a registered Somali refugee over her arrest and prosecution for being in the country illegally.

Farhiya Mohamed sued the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director of Immigration and Registration of Persons, seeking to quash the ruling by a Magistrate’s Court, which ordered her to pay a fine of 10,000 shillings or face three months imprisonment.

Mohamed, who is being held at the Industrial Area Remand awaiting repatriation, argues the move is contrary to the international refugee protection principle of non-refoulement.

Early May, the government declared that it will no longer be hosting refugees in the interest of national security.

PS Kibicho said the move is part of measures the government is putting in place to restore security in the country due to the challenge posed by Al Shabaab fighters.

“As a result of hosting these refugees, the Government of Kenya has continued to shoulder very heavy economic, security and environmental burden on behalf of the region and international community,” said Kibicho.

While defending the government’s decision to close the Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps, Interior Cabinet Secretary Major Gen. (Rtd.) Joseph Nkaissery said the government had formed a task force to oversee the repatriation process.

“For reasons of pressing national security that speak to the safety of Kenyans in a context of terrorist and criminal activities, the Government of the Republic of Kenya has commenced the exercise of closing Dadaab Refugee Complex. The refugees will be repatriated to their countries of origin or to third party countries for resettlement. This decision was arrived at in November 2013, when Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR signed a Tripartite Agreement setting grounds for repatriation of Somali refugees. There has been very slow progress on the implementation of the agreement. As part of concluding this arrangement, Kenya is committed to close Dadaab Refugee Complex,” said Nkaissery during a news conference.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Amina Mohamed has since said the closure of the Dadaab refugee complex and repatriation of Somali refugees will be carried out in a humane manner.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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