Repatriation of Somali refugees could take years, UNHCR warns

Nairobi (KON) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says Dadaab will continue to grow even after the repatriation of the refugees as planned.
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UNHCR Representative in Kenya Raouf Mazou said the process will take up to 10 years to complete. “Just like in Liberia, this is not a one-day event.

It will take long to take all the refugees to Somalia. Dadaab will continue to grow,” he said as he stressed no jobs will be lost.

He added the agreement for the repatriation of Somali refugees signed with the Kenyan and Somali governments is based on the premise that the exercise will be voluntary.

“It’s important to underline that no one is forcing Somalis to leave Kenya,” Mazou told The Standard.

Government directive He added according to the UN agency’s data, there are 474,483 Somali refugees residing in Kenya. Mazou was reacting to the government directive that the camps be closed and the refugees return to Somalia.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku on Saturday turned down pleas by the refugees to continue staying here and announced there will be no turning back.

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