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UNHCR have repatriated over 30,000 Somali refugees from Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Thursday the number of Somali refugees voluntarily repatriated from the Dadaab camp in northwest Kenya had reached 30,349 since December 2014.

The UNHCR said in its report released in Nairobi that among them, 24,248 refugees left in 2016 alone.

"During the reporting period (Sept.1-15), 482 returnees were supported to voluntarily return to Somalia by flight," UNHCR said in its bi-monthly report.

Kenya, in collaboration with the UNHCR, is working on a program that will ensure a smooth and voluntary repatriation of over 500,000 refugees at the Dadaab refugee camp after Nairobi announced the closure of the camp early this year.

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

Kenya believes Somalia militant group Al-Shabaab, which killed 148 people at Garissa University in April last year, are behind a spate of attacks that have hit several parts of northern and coastal regions, as well as the capital.

The UNHCR has decided to increase the return and reintegration assistance package offered in Kenya and Somalia, which include cash grants, customized shelter package, education and health grants.

"The return of Somali refugees from Dadaab camps gained significant momentum as many refugees are reported to be registering for repatriation across the camps," the UNHCR said.

It said, however, that road convoys were suspended from Aug. 30, after the Jubaland administration notified UNHCR Somalia about their decision not to receive any more returnees until integration processes inside Somalia are addressed.

The UN refugee agency said it’s also working on the construction of two new transit centers in both Ifo and Hagadera camps at Dadaab in response to the high number of refugees willing to return.

"These centers will have a capacity of accommodating 2,000 individuals each. In addition, the expansion of the Dagahaley transit center is ongoing," it said.



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