The return of refugees living in Kenya to Somalia is a positive indicator of improved security in the country, UN Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga said Monday (January 7th).
Somali refugees have been leaving Kenya after the Kenyan government last month ordered the relocation of all refugees living in urban areas to designated refugee camps.
"They are mainly from some of the urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa and some of the towns in the north-eastern part of Kenya," Mahiga told UN Radio, adding that few are returning from Kenyan refugee camps that house hundreds of thousands of refugees. Returnees are also coming from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, he said.
"It is a positive indicator that there is security in Somalia and the political situation is permitting and they want to participate in that process," Mahiga said. "On the other hand, it poses a great challenge to the government. There is a great shortage of accommodation and housing and basic services like health and education."
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Tuesday invited Somalis to return home, reassuring them that the security conditions in the country were much improved, Somalia's Hiiraan Online reported.