Somali president appeals to Kenyatta over refugees

President Uhuru Kenyatta receiving Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud

President Uhuru Kenyatta receiving Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud

Somalia’s president has called for “a better way” to bring home refugees from his country, with Kenya insisting that it will go ahead with its plan to close the world’s largest refugee camp.

The Dadaab camp is home to more than 300,000 Somalis.

President Hassan Sheik Mohamed told the BBC that forced repatriation was not in the best interests of either country.

Kenya says it wants to close the camp over security concerns, saying attacks on its soil have been planned there.

Kenya did not follow through on a previous threat to close down the camp, made last April following the deadly attack by a Somali militant group al-Shabab on a university 100km (62 miles) away.

The al-Qaeda linked group has staged several attacks on Kenya in recent years.

Authorities needed to agree on “the best way to bring these people in an orderly manner and in a dignified way based on the international laws… We don’t want to have our relations affected with Kenya,” President Mohamed told the BBC Somali service.

He said Somalia was grateful for Kenya’s support in accommodating the refugees over such a long period and was committed to getting its people home.

Dadaab was set up in 1991 to house families fleeing conflict in Somalia, and some people have been living there for more than 20 years.


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