Kenya deputy President, William Ruto, has issued an ultimatum to the United Nations demanding the evacuation of more than 600,000 Somali refugees out of his country, or else his government will do so.
Ruto made the demand Saturday to the U.N.’s refugee agency, giving it three months to move out every last refugee from the Dadaab camps, the largest in the world.
More than 600,000 refugees reside in the camp, which is located just more than 50 miles from the Somalia-Kenya border in the Garissa District, the same district where terrorists stormed a university a week ago and killed 147 people.
Ruto told CNN that “as America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee base must be relocated”.
“We have asked the UNHCR to relocate the refugees in three months, failure to which we shall relocate them ourselves,” Ruto clarified.
He added: “We must secure this country at whatever cost, even if we lose business with Somalia. No politics, no games, no half-measures should apply, as the death of the 147 students must touch all Kenyans.”
The Dadaab camps were first built in the Garissa District in 1991 and took in the first refugees from Somalia’s civil war.
In 2013, the foreign ministries of both nations reached an agreement to pave the way for voluntary repatriation of the refugees living in the camps.
Officials believe that Al Shabaab is using the refugees to plan attacks.
Al Shabaab was also responsible for the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in September 2013 that killed 67 and wounded 175.
The U.N. refugee agency that runs the camps said it has not received any official request from Kenyan officials.