The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that about 12,000 expatriate Somalis returned to the country in the first nine weeks of 2013, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported Wednesday (March 13th).
Of that number, nearly 10,500 returned from Kenya and Ethiopia, with the remainder from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The repatriation from Kenya represents an eight-fold increase over previous months, with movement to Kenya decreasing. Movement between Somalia and Ethiopia decreased during this period in both directions.
“The numbers, however, do not indicate intentions and many refugees cross back and forth, sometimes to check on property or find seasonal work,” the report said, adding that conditions in Somalia are not sufficiently secure to justify a large-scale voluntary return.
Somalis from Kenya gave several reasons for their return, including having been in Kenya illegally, the Kenyan government’s decision to relocate refugees to camps, fears of election violence, as well as insecurity, robbery, rape, harassment and other acts in the camps
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