Kenya says it has identified nine areas inside Somalia where it will resettle Somali refugees once the repatriation process begins.
The country’s interior security ministry says the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp, which is home to thousands of Somali refugees, will be carried out in November this year.
An official from the ministry told refugees gathered in Nairobi for festivities to mark World Refugee Day that the decision to close the camp is final.
The United States has asked Kenya to ensure the repatriation process is voluntary and humane.
There are festivities to mark World Refugee Day refugees drawn from various African countries showcasing their culture through song and dance.
The mood was upbeat. Not for long though, when a representative of Kenya’s interior security minister spoke there was pin drop silence, as it dawned on those gathered here that Kenyans determined to send thousands of Somali refugees home.
Kenya Interior Ministry Representative says, “This is the time for Somali refugees return home and rebuild their country, there are over nine areas identified for the safe return of the refugees.”
Kenya has linked various terror attacks in the country to refugees sheltered in Dadaab refugee camp. Those we spoke hoping for a change of heart even as the November date approaches.
The International community sought to rally behind the refugees.
United States Ambassador in Kenya Bob Godec says, “This choice must be made voluntarily by each in a time when they feel safe with their families to go home.”
The Kenya’s Raouf Mazou says, “We must find humane and dignified means to ensure refugees don not risk their lives and those families by boarding rickety boats as they seek safety.”
Kenya signed a tripartite agreement with the United Nations and the Somali government which among other things provides for voluntary repatriation of the refugees, but the East African nation has expressed concern threat the process has stalled and lacks the support of the international community.
Source: Goobjoog News, SABC