Today from Hiiraan Online:
UNHCR Repatriates Nearly 6,000 Somali Refugees From Kenya
Friday, December 18, 2015
The UN refugee agency said it has voluntary repatriated 5,853 Somali refugees from the Dadaab settlement in northeast Kenya to areas in southern Somalia which have been pacified.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said some 448 returnees were assisted to return by flight to Mogadishu in November.
"In total 5,853 Somali refugees returned home since December 8, 2014, when UNHCR started supporting voluntary return of Somali refugees in Kenya," UN agency said in its bi-Weekly report released in Nairobi.
The UN agency said voluntary return movements by road remains suspended during the rainy season since roads are impassable.
The UN agency said flights convoys are to continue to Mogadishu mainly till the third week of December. The refugees are mostly returning to Kismayu and Baidoa in southern Somalia.
The repatriation is being done through a framework agreed upon in a tripartite agreement among Kenya, Somalia and the UNHCR. The estimated number of Somali refugees in the country is over 500,000.
Dadaab refugee camp, currently home to some 350,000 people, is the largest settlement in the world. For more than 20 years, it has been home to generations of Somalis who have fled a country embroiled in conflict.
The UN refugee agency says Kenya remains a very important country for UNHCR as it has been hosting refugees for more than 20 years.
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 apart from the humanitarian crisis.
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