UNHCR steps up repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya

Thursday August 18 2016

By MONITOR CORRESPONDENT

Kenya. The UN refugee agency has voluntarily repatriated 2,272 Somali refugees from the Dadaab camp in northwest Kenya between July 16-31.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-monthly report received in Nairobi that some 1,272 returnees were supported to voluntarily return to Somalia.

“Some 1,061 returnees were transported by road while 211 persons returned to Mogadishu by flight,” the UN refugee agency said on Monday.

“As of July 31, 19,523 Somali refugees had returned home since December 8, 2014, when UNHCR started supporting voluntary return of Somali refugees in Kenya,” it said. During the reporting period, 1,581 individuals also visited the Return Help Desks where they received return-related information or were processed for repatriation.
Kenya, in collaboration with the UN, is working on a programme that will ensure a smooth and voluntary repatriation of more than 500,000 refugees living in five camps at the Dadaab refugee camp after Nairobi announced the closure of the camp.

Kenya, which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the formation of the transitional federal government of Somalia, says the refugee situation continues to pose security threats to Nairobi and the region.

Nairobi believes Somalia militants, Al-Shabaab, who killed 148 people at Garissa University in April 2015, are behind a spate of insecurity that has hit several parts of northern, Nairobi and coastal regions.

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The UNHCR and Kenya are also carrying out a verification exercise in the Dadaab refugee camps in order to have a clear picture of the refugees living in the camps and gather more information on their condition.
It is anticipated that the exercise, which started on July 4, will help ascertain the number of persons of concern living in each of the camps.

“As of July 31, a total number of 58,012 households comprising 270,517 individuals had been verified out of the targeted population of 78,998 households comprising 341,571 individuals,” it said.

The numbers
19,523
The number of Somali refugees that had returned home as of July 31.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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