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Refugee repatriation to start in July as 5,000 leave voluntarily

COUNTIES
By Graham Kajilwa | June 24th 2016

Repatriation of refugees will start on July 1 and will take five months.

Somalians will take priority as they make up the majority of refugees at Dadaab camp followed by South Sudanese.

With Sh1 billion set aside and a week to go, Interior Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu said 5,000 refugees had opted to return to their home countries voluntarily.

"Our latest statistics as per yesterday (Wednesday) stand at 321,000 refugees at the Dadaab camp from 326,000 as reported in May 31," said Mr Irungu.

He said the voluntary exit of the refugees was a sign that the highly debated exercise will run smoothly.

"We encourage the refugees if they have their own means of leaving, let them do so instead of waiting for the official exercise," he said.

Irungu, who also chairs the repatriation committee, was speaking during a meeting with players who sought to outline how the exercise would be conducted.

"We assure all refugees and the international community that the exercise will be run in the most humane way possible," he said.

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Earlier, US Ambassador Robert Godec had insisted that no refugee should be forced to return home saying: "It should be voluntary and at a time they think it is safe."

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