Kenya : UN Says Dadaab Camps Closure On Target

Nearly 2,000 refugees per week returning voluntarily to Somalia, the United Nations has said.
The population of the refugee complex was reported to be 265,034 on February 15, a decrease of about 10,000 residents since December and about 60,000 since last May.

At its peak, Dadaab housed more than 500,000 Somalis who had fled violence and hunger.
UN refugee agency spokesman Julien Navier told the Nation on Wednesday that the rate of return during the first six weeks of this year indicated that they “ are on target for reducing the population” of Dadaab.

UN agency and the governments of Kenya and Somalia calls for the phase-out of the refugee camps established in 1991 in an agreement signed in 2013.

A voluntary repatriation programme in 2014, under which nearly 50,000 Somalis have been assisted financially and logistically in returning to their homeland while thousands more have gone back to Somalia on their own.

Citing security concerns, Kenyan authorities had threatened to shut Dadaab by May of this year, but a High Court ruling last month blocked that move at least temporarily.

Returns are being encouraged through a UN-sponsored “go and see” programme whereby some 5,000 refugees have been flown from Kenya to Baidoa in western Somalia on what amounts to inspection tours.

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