We don’t want more refugees, says Jubaland as it stops flights
Interior Minister Darwish says there are problems to be resolved first. ‘They had a good life in Dadaab. But here they are not getting anything’
Repatriation of Somali refugees from the Daadab camp has been suspended after the Jubaland administration refused to resettle returnees.
Flights to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, were suspended due to security concerns, after al Shabaab staged suicide attacks in recent weeks.
On August 31, Jubaland, through its Interior minister Mohamed Darwish, refused to receive about 2,000 refugees, mainly women and children. Darwish cited inadequate humanitarian support and “security risks” as the basis of their decision.
UNHCR Kenya Public Information Unit officer Duke Mwencha said after negotiations, the semi-autonomous region allowed in the stranded refugees, but vowed to receive no more.
The Star has learnt efforts by Kenya and the UN refugee agency to convince Somalia to receive more returnees have not been successful.
Mwencha said repatriation will resume once security in the designated areas, especially in the capital, improves. Many refugees have signed up to relocate to Jubaland due to its close proximity to the Kenyan border.
The regions designated to receive the refugees are Baidoa, Bal-ad, Belet Weyne, Jowar, Kismayo, Luuq, and Mogadishu.
“The refugees are dumped in an open place. We cannot afford to keep them in this condition. Our main city Kismayu is full of repatriated refugees,” Darwish said.
“We opted to keep them at the transit centres at the border until the situation is improved. They had a good life in Dadaab. But here they are not getting anything.”
Last week, Human Rights Watch said the repatriation programme is fuelled by fear and misinformation and does not meet international standards for voluntary return.