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Kenya to return Somali refugees to Jubaland

Storyline:National News

Kenya is proposing that Somali refugees living at camps in the country’s north be moved to a settlement in Southern Somalia as part of the United Nations-supported repatriation process, an Interior Ministry official said.

Kenya, Somalia and the UN signed an agreement last year to pave the way for Somali refugees to voluntarily return home as the nation seeks to overcome the threat of Al-Shabab.

Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku has said some members of al-shabab operate from the camps to plan attacks and the presence of refugees poses a risk to national security.

Somalia’s Jubaland administration has offered 10,000 acres (4,047 hectares) of land on which the Kenyan government wants donors to build schools, hospitals and facilities to cater for relocated refugees, Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said in an interview on Sept. 19 in the capital, Nairobi.

“The fact is not all refugees are involved in terrorism, but there are some who are,” said Njoka. “The camps give an opportunity for some people to exploit us.”

The Dadaab complex in northeastern Kenya hosts about half a million mainly Somali refugees, well beyond the capacity it was designed for to deal with an influx of Somalis fleeing conflict after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said last year it’s too soon for a “massive” repatriation of Somali refugees.

Source: Bloomberg