UNHCR head, Kenya president hold talks over Dabaab closure
06 May 2015, 21:43
Nairobi - The United Nations (UN) High
Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said he understood
Kenya's security concerns and urged tightened security at Dadaab, the world's
largest refugee camp in northeastern Kenya.
Guterres made the call after a meeting with Kenyan President
Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, which marks the start of talks over the voluntary
repatriation of Somali refugees.
"I thank Kenya for its open door policy to people
running away from danger. We also agree that there is no government that will
minimize the security of its citizens," Guterres said, adding the process,
however, has to be done in an organized manner.
Guterres said his agency had identified eight districts in
Somalia where the refugees could be resettled.
Dadaab refugee camp currently houses some 350,000 people.
For more than 20 years, it has been home to generations of Somalis who have
fled their homeland wracked by conflicts.
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The government asked the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to close
the camp after an attack by Somalia-based Al-Shabaab gunmen on Kenya's Garissa
University in April that left 148 people dead.
Kenyatta said "the sense of urgency to repatriate the
refugees has been necessitated by the security threats facing Kenyans,"
adding he wants the process to be smooth to avoid creating more problems.
"We want the world to understand that the security of
our people and their property cannot be relegated to the bottom of our priority
list," the president said.
Guterres called for deployment of special police units at
the camp to reduce crime and prevent terror network.
"From experience, when General Service Unit (GSU)
officers were deployed to the camps in the past, security improved and we
request for the deployment of sufficient numbers of security personnel,
especially the GSU, to Dadaab," he said.
The UNHCR head is set to travel to Somalia after his Kenya