Somali refugees return speeded up



Tuesday, August 20, 2013



The repatriation of Somali refugees has been stepped up.


A committee comprising Kenya and Somalia government as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been set up to speed up the repatriation.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph ole Lenku, said more than 80,000 refugees had been sent home.

He told a conference in Mombasa on Thursday that those opposing the repartriation were businesspeople exploiting the refugees.

The minister said repatriation was being slowed down by Kenyans who had registered as refugees to earn food rations.

Mr Lenku urged leaders in the region to advise their constituents against this as they could be condemned to refugee status forever.

He said there was stability in Somalia and most refugees were eager to go home.

“The Somali Foreign Affairs minister was here and he assured us the country is now safe. There is no better place to be than home,” he added.

Somalia is stable

Lagdera MP Mohamed Shidiye, however, said the repatriation violated the Geneva Convention.

He doubted that Somalia was stable, claiming that most of the refugees were being sent home against their will.

The repatriation started in March after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met and agreed to work towards returning the displaced to their homes.