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Kenya accuses UN of frustrating Somali refugee repatriation

Storyline:National News

Kenya has accused UN agencies of frustrating efforts to repatriate Somali refugees from Dadaab camp in northern Kenya.

The country’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisery said Tuesday UN agencies and other non-governmental organisations working in the camp are involved in a tug of war over the repatriation of Somali refugees noting that many of them benefit from extended stay of refugees.

“There are big wars there; otherwise many refugees are willing to go back, but the NGOs are not interested because they make a lot of money in the process,” said Mr Nkaisery.

Nkaisey said the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and other agencies had set aside $1million dollars for the construction of a refugee camp to accommodate 50,000 people near Ras Camboni in Jubbaland.

The minister said Kenya and Jubbaland state of Somalia had identified 1,000 hectares of land to build refugee camps for Somali returnees. The camp will include schools, health facilities and an airport.

A tripartite agreement between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR in 2013 was set to repatriate an estimate 500,000 Somali refugees from Dadaab who have been in the camp for over two decades now.

The camp which also hosts Ethiopian and South Sudan refugees attracts $1billion in annual foreign currency inflows and creates about 10,000 jobs held by Kenyans and foreigners.

The European Union December announced €50 million to support the resettlement of Somali refugees from the Dadaab Refugee camp.

The minister was responding to Kenya’s Parliament’s Administration and National Security Committee on the state of the repatriation programme.