More than 33,000 Somali refugees have returned home
Road convoys were suspended in August, after the Jubaland administration refused to resettle returnees, citing inadequate humanitarian support and security risks
More than 33,000 Somali refugees from the Dadaab camp have returned home since December 2014, the UN refugee agency has said.
In the latest brief, UNHCR said 517 refugees had been repatriated in the past two weeks by flight.
Flights have resumed and are currently operating three days a week.
“As of October 15, 33,178 Somali refugees had returned home since December 8, 2014, when UNHCR started supporting voluntary return of Somali refugees in Kenya,” the UN- HCR report said. The agency has been airlifting the refugees to Baidoa since the Jubaland administration suspended road convoys in August. The administration has refused to resettle returnees, citing inadequate humanitarian support and security risks.
The UN agency said the refugees will continue to be airlifted to Jubaland two days a week until a solution is found on border crossings.
Jubaland, which borders Kenya to the East, is an autonomous region in southern Somalia and a close ally of Kenya.
In the past five months, makeshift camps in Somalia’s southernmost border state have been growing, as thousands of refugees are repatriated.
UN agencies in Somalia met with the Jubaland administration last month. They reported that the administration had agreed to cooperate in the reintegration of the returnees.
Kenya targets to repatriate more than 300,000 Somalis from the twoand-a-half-decade-old Dadaab.
It said earlier this year it would close Dadaab, citing security concerns.
Last week, the UN agency said 26,819 Somali refugees have indicated willingness to return home. With elections in the war-torn country approaching next month, observers say the security situation is likely to deteriorate, with terror group al Shabaab vowing to step up attacks.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with Somali refugee students in Dadaab on June 6