Kenya to halve Dadaab population by end-2016



Kenya aims to reduce the number of refugees living in Dadaab camp by almost half by the end of 2016, a committee that groups Kenya, Somalia and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said.

The country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday talked on phone with the US’ President Barack Obama, and assured him that the planned closure of Dadaab refugee camp, which is home to around 326,000 displaced persons, mostly Somalis, will continue in a humane and organized manner.

Kenya said the closure of the camp is down to security reasons, claiming that terrorists have used the facility to plan attacks in the country.

The US and the United Nations have however urged Kenya to ensure that no refugee is forced to return to Somalia, which is still struggling to rebuild following decade of conflict and continues to face an Islamist insurgency.

“The parties noted the prospect of the reduction of the population in the Dadaab camps by 150,000 individuals by the end of 2016,” the joint communique said, referring to string of sites that make up the Dadaab camp complex.

A U.N. official said on Sunday that the new target of reducing the Dadaab population by 150,000 was a prospective figure and it was not guaranteed to be achieved.

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