The Government has on Thursday (9/02/17) said it will appeal the High Court ruling declaring plans to close the Dadaab Refugee Camp an illegality.
Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the decision to close the camp was made in the interest of national security which still remains a major concern.
“You will be reminded that the key reason for the closure of the camp was that it had become the launch pad for various terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab,” said Kiraithe.
“For us as a Government, Kenya will always come first. The lives of Kenyans matter. Our interest in this case, and in the closure of Dadaab refugee camp, remains to protect the lives of Kenyans. It is for this reason that we shall be strongly appealing the decision by the High Court,” he reiterated.
High Court Judge, Justice John Mativo ruled that the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho acted beyond their powers in issuing the order to close down the camp.
Judge Mativo urged the Government to adopt other mechanisms that would ensure the department of refugees is functioning properly.
He noted that repatriating refugees is unconstitutional and discriminative.
The Government postponed closure of the Dadaab complex in November last year.
The deadline was extended by six months, having originally planned it for November, 2016.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the decision was made following a request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“I wish to announce that the government has accepted the request to extend the deadline for the completion of the repatriation of Somali refugees and the eventual closure of Dadaab refugee complex by six months,” he said.
Nkaissery reiterated that a comprehensive repatriation programme would be rolled out in December, 2016.
“The repatriation will continue to be carried out in a humane, safe and dignified manner,” he said.
In May last year, the Government pledged Sh1 billion to repatriate refugees and asylum seekers from the camp as a way of fighting terrorism, a menace that Kenya has grappled with over a period of time now.