Somalia said Kenya is politicizing refugee camps, which have sheltered hundreds of thousands of Somali nationals for three decades, by moving to have them closed.
Kenya upped pressure on the United Nations this week to come up with a plan to shut down the country’s Kakuma and Dadaab camps, saying their continued existence posed a security threat to East Africa’s biggest economy. This came after authorities accused some refugees of harboring links to the Somali-based al-Shabaab Islamist group behind terror attacks on Kenyan soil.
“Refugees are protected by the Geneva Convention and therefore Kenya has no right to forcefully expel them,” Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abukar Dube said in an interview with BBC’s Somali-language service Saturday.
The neighbors are entangled in a number of political disputes, including a disagreement over their maritime border, which is at the center of a case at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Dube said.
“If Kenya loses in politics, it should not take revenge on refugees,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Kenya’s Ministry of Interior didn’t respond to a call and text message seeking comment.