GENEVA — The United Nations refugee agency urged Kenya on Tuesday to reconsider plans for closing Dadaab, one of the world’s oldest and biggest complexes of refugee camps, and forcing its more than 350,000 Somali inhabitants back into Somalia.
The agency said such a forced repatriation would violate international law.
Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, announced the plans to close Dadaab and repatriate its population on Saturday as part of the Kenyan response to the April 2 attack on Garissa University College by Somalia-based extremist Shabab gunmen that killed 148 people, including 142 students. Kenya initially responded to the attack with airstrikes on Shabab positions in Somalia. But in a further move linked to security, Mr. Ruto told the United Nations refugee agency it had three months to relocate the camp’s population. If the agency failed to comply, Mr. Ruto said, “we shall relocate them ourselves.”