The government has said that it will appeal today’s court ruling to quash its plan to close the Dadaab refugee camp.
This comes after High Court Judge John Mativo ruled Thursday that Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho acted beyond their powers in issuing the directive to close down the camp.
He further declared the repatriation of refugees as unconstitutional and described it as discriminative, directing the State to adopt mechanisms that would ensure the department for refugees is functioning properly.
Government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe, while addressing journalists on Thursday, said that while the government respects the rule of law it intends to appeal the ruling by the court.
“The closure of Dadaab camp has always drawn varying interest and opinions, both nationally and internationally. For us as government, Kenya will always come first. The lives of Kenyans matter....It is for this reason that we shall be strongly appealing the decision by the High Court,” said Mr Kiraithe after the ruling.
He said that the decision to close the camp was arrived at because it had lost its humanitarian purpose and had become "the launch pad for various terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab”.
He further defended the repatriation process, saying the State was undertaking it in collaboration with the government of Somalia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to official figures, 51,727 refugees have so far voluntarily left the camp and returned to Somalia.