42 Somali refugees arrive in Mogadishu in voluntary repatriation program
42 Somali refugees returned to the Horn of African country from Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya as part of the voluntary repatriation program on Saturday.
These refugees are part of a program for Somali refugees in Kenya to voluntarily return home.
”After months of suspension due to COVID-19, the first group of Somali returnees has arrived in Mogadishu today from Kenya through the voluntary repatriation program. (Volrep). 42 individuals were received by UNHCR Somalia National Commission for Refugees & IDPs ( NCRI) and other partners,” UNHCR said in a tweet.
“To ensure the safety of the returnees, we have put measures in place such as COVID testing and isolation before departure. We have also followed guidelines laid out by WHO and the governments of Somalia and Kenya.”
About half a million Somali refugees are said to be living in refugee camps in Kenya.
The voluntary repatriation program has recently been disrupted due to the spread of COVID-19.
Somalia has been dogged by violence for over a decade. Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab wants to topple the government and an install sharia law based in their own understanding.
The conflict has forced millions of Somalis from their homeland.
The Somali government, Kenya and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed a tripartite agreement in 2013 to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees in Kenya.