, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – The government says it plans to have repatriated at least 150, 0000 Somali refugees from Dadaab camp by the end of 2016.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed clarified that this reduce the numbers of the estimated 326,000 Somali refugees at the camp but added that a review process is ongoing to get the actual numbers.
The Daadab camp closure process will also involve identifying the non-Somali refugees who will be taken to Kakuma camp as well as identifying local citizens who live in the camp to obtain humanitarian assistance.
“Actually the repatriation has begun already. In the last one week, 1,000 refugees went back to Somalia. So this shows the repatriation is ongoing and has been ongoing for a while,” CS Mohamed told journalists on Saturday.
By the end of May this year, the number of Somali refugees who had gone back home was 16,000.
Mohamed was speaking after a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Somalia Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Abdusalam Omer which will be held again in October this year.
Grandi called for more donations as they plan to increase repatriation package being given to refugees adding that funds will be a significance determinant of how fast the process goes.
“We are planning to increase the package or double as this is what most of the refugees have requested because they actually want to go home. The package is in need for cash for food and also other non food items. But all in all the most important part of repatriation process will be cash,” Grandi said.
So far the Kenyan government estimates that at least Sh20billion is needed to have the process done and completed in a humane manner. Kenya had already set aside Sh1 billion to kick off the exercise.
The Somalia government has assured that there is already land set aside for the returnees with no homes.
“It is all familiar that most of the refugees came from certain parts of Somalia. Land has been set aside and we will determine the safety and how much funds we have for them to be repatriated and taken care off in Somalia. So it is a working progress,” Minister assured.
He maintained that no one will be forced to leave, adding that most of them want to go back home.
“We have at least 20,000 at the moment waiting to leave.”
Kenya decided to close the Daadab Camp citing insecurity reasons since the camp had become a hiding place for terrorists who masqueraded as refugees.