1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Kenya

First Somali refugees return home from Dadaab

[Kenya] Ifo camp, Dadaab, northern Kenya where thousands of Somali refugees live.
Ifo camp, Dadaab in Kenya where thousands of Somali refugees live. (IRIN)

The first repatriation in two years of Somali refugees from Dadaab camp in northeastern Kenya began on Tuesday when 43 refugees returned home, aid workers said.

"They are mostly families - men, women and children and a few individuals," Emmanuel Nyabera, spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, told IRIN on Tuesday.

Nyabera said the refugees had arrived safely in Galkaayo, in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia, and a second group of 16 was expected to fly to the nearby port of Bossaso on Wednesday.

"We are happy to see these refugees going back to their homeland after more than a decade in exile," Toshiro Odashima, head of UNHCR's Dadaab office, said.

"People started to express interest in returning some time ago, but it was not until recently that they told us they were ready to go back," Nyabera said.

Before leaving Dadaab, the refugees received an assistance package consisting of basic supplies; they were also given an allowance of US $170 to assist them during the initial reintegration period.

Some 134,000 Somali refugees live in Dadaab, according to UNHCR. Another 12,000 live in Kakuma, in northwestern Kenya. The majority of those in Dadaab are from central and southern Somalia.

"This is the first repatriation to Somalia to take place from Dadaab in two years - since some 93 individuals left in 2003 - and we hope more refugees will be encouraged to go back to safe parts of Somalia," Odashima said.

Most Somali refugees fled their country when it was plunged into anarchy after the collapse of the Siyad Barre administration in 1991.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.