South Sudanese refugees in the Kakuma camp were shocked and panic with the Kenya government’s announcement to close the base giving only two weeks for the UN to implement the plan.
The UN refugee agency issued a statement this week confirmed the notification over the planned closure of Kakuma, Kalobeyei, and Dadaab refugee camps. The closure of the camps came due to fear of national security threats, the Kenya government stated.
The refugees expressed mixed reactions. Some doubted that South Sudan’s government did not fully implement the revitalized agreement to give hope for their returns.
Others urge the Kenyan government to reverse the decision-cited situation in their home’s countries not safe for repatriation.
Singaita FM in Kapoeta spokes to the camp chairperson, Sabina Achola, who said refugees have the right to seek safety.
“It depends on the country’s situation. If the situation of our country becomes okay, then UNHCR will do that repatriation. Still, the situation South Sudan is in now, South Sudanese they will not be given repatriation because the country is not yet well”.
Another South Sudanese refugee is Emilio Moi, described the news as “abrupt closure and shock.”
He said South Sudanese want to hear free movement with total silencing of guns and economic stability.
“People were happy to come back to South Sudan but not completely happy because situation not okay in our country. We want the government to provide education for our children. We need to realize that the government is implementing peace to gives us hopes of returning.”
South Sudan peace deal signed in 2018 detailed the needs for reconstruction and repatriation of refugees includes internally displaced persons (IDPs).