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Kenya, UNHCR plan to repatriate 500,000 Somali refugess

04 November 2015, 21:32

Dadaab - Kenya is working in collaboration with the UN refugee agency on a program that will ensure a smooth and voluntary repatriation of over 500,000 refugees living in five camps at the Dadaad refugee camp in Kenya.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisery said the long term plan included maintaining stability in Somalia by the Kenyan troops under AMISOM and ensuring all the necessary infrastructure such as health services, education and water are in place before the refugees go back home.

"We have to ensure that the refugees go back to a safe place. That is why we still have our troops inside Somalia to stabilize the country," Nkaissery said on Tuesday at the Dadaab refugee complex in northeast Kenya.

"Basic facilities such as schools, hospitals and other infrastructure have to be put in place so that when the refugees go back voluntarily , they have safe place to settle," he said.

According to Kenya, some 45,000 refugees have been repatriated in the last two years from the Dadaab refugee camp and more could soon be going back home under the new program.

Returning refugees are assisted with transport to their places of origin, mostly in Kismayo, Mogadishu, Baidoa and Luuq in South and Central Somalia.

Also read: 'Can't leave, won't leave', Waiguru tells MPs as Keter storms hearing

They also receive a cash grant, food and basic domestic items such as sleeping mats, mosquito nets, a solar lantern, hygiene supplies and kitchen utensils to help them start a new life.

According to UNHCR, more than 26,000 Somali refugees have fled violence in Yemen and returned to Somalia, mostly to Mogadishu.

The new phase of repatriation is the result of efforts by the Tripartite Commission formed by UNHCR and the governments of Kenya and Somalia which was formed to step up support for voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees.

Despite the fragile security environment situation in Somalia, refugees have started to return, UNHCR said, noting that more still have returned spontaneously without receiving assistance from UNHCR.

Under the current agreement assistance will be provided to returnees to any area of Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia.

Dadaab has been providing protection, shelter and humanitarian assistance to Somali refugees for two decades, but has grappled with difficult and complex circumstances including chronic overcrowding, a risk of disease and seasonal floods.

Kenya also said the refugee situation has continued to pose security threats to itself, and believed Somalia militants, Al-Shabaab, who killed 148 people at Garissa University in April are behind insecurity that affects several parts of the country, including national capital Nairobi and coastal regions.


- Xinhua


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