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Jubaland Somalia and UN will re-integrate refugees from Kenya

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The UN and Somalia’s Jubaland state authorities have resolved to form a joint committee tasked with addressing the reintegration of returnees from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.

A statement from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said that representatives of UN agencies, the World Bank and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation met Monday in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo with Jubaland’s Second Deputy President Abdulkadir Haji Mohamud-Luga Dhere.

The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, said Tuesday the meeting discussed "the return and reintegration of refugees from Dadaab ... as well as the host communities that have to bear the burden of these big challenges that are coming at them."

Clercq said the coordination committee will be based in Kismayo and will discuss concrete programs for the reintegration of the refugees and internally displaced people.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Kenyan government are repatriating Somalis living in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp in northern Kenya and home to more than 300,000 Somalis, as Kenya says it will close the camp, citing mainly security reasons.

The UNHCR said late last month that some 18,000 Somali refugees had returned to their homeland this year.

Jubaland state is an autonomous region in southern Somalia with its western side bordering Kenya.

Dhere expressed his satisfaction with the talks, which he said also touched on the initiation of development projects in Jubaland.

"I welcome any other organizations working on humanitarian aid in Jubaland region to work with us," Dhere said.

An estimated 3,000 Somali refugees were reportedly stranded at the Dadaab camp and the Kenya-Somalia border early this month after the Jubaland administration blocked their return.

It is said the stranded refugees were to resettle in Jubaland.

They have also been reportedly struck off the UNHCR’s database, meaning they are likely to be left without food rations and other essentials.



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