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Kenya to close world's largest refugee camp 'by November'

31 May 2016, 20:33

Nairobi, May 31, 2016 (AFP) -Kenya is to send Somali refugees in the world's largest camp back to their war-torn country or third nations by November, the interior minister said Tuesday.

The sprawling Dadaab camp on the Kenya-Somalia border hosts some 350,000 refugees, the vast majority of whom fled Somalia's more than two-decade long conflict.

Kenya said earlier this month it would shut down the camp, and set up a team to investigate how to achieve that.

"I want to inform the world that the decision to close Dadaab camp is final," Interior Minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery said after receiving the team's report.

"We hope to close the camp latest by November this year."

Nkaissery said the report would be shared with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

"On our side, we will prepare security and ensure it is done in the most humane way," he added, noting the report was "very clear on the timelines" to ensure refugees left.

"But this is a UNHCR exercise, we are just there to help them to get the refugees back."

Charities and the UN have voiced dismay at the closure plan, while rights groups have warned that forcibly repatriating refugees would break international law.


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