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UNHCR: Some Somali refugees willing to return home

26 November 2013, 08:04

Dadaab - The UN refugee agency UNHCR on Monday said some Somali refugees living in the northern Kenyan camps are willing to return home once they get support.

UNHCR official Mans Nyberg said the Kenyan government did not order the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp as reported by media.

Some refugees had turned up to the UNHCR offices in Dadaab, the world's largest refugee settlement, to seek more information on their return, the official said.

"Contrary to what is being reported in the local media, the government did not order the closure of the refugee camps. The UNHCR is providing its humanitarian services as usual," Nyberg told Xinhua by telephone from Dadaab on Monday.

He reiterated the UN agency's position that any repatriation must be voluntary.

"Those who are willing to return have approached us to assist them. They have come to our offices to seek further information on their return package. We will determine what to give them during a meeting this week," Nyberg added.

The development comes after Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said on Saturday that the government will not back down on refugee repatriation. He reportedly ordered that all refugee camps be shut down.

The UNHCR and the Kenyan and Somali governments on Nov. 10 signed an agreement on the repatriation of Somali refugees. Up to 80,000 Somali refugees have spontaneously returned to south- central Somalia since January.

- Xinhua


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