45 Somali refugees return home in voluntary repatriation program

On Thursday, 45 Somali refugees returned to the Horn of African country from Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya as part of the voluntary repatriation program, the United Nations Refugee agency announced.

The repatriations come following a move by the Kenyan government to close the refugee camp. Kenya reportedly wants Dadaab closed by the end of 2019.

Kenya has previously ordered the closure of the camp on many occasions, but the UN and other international players intervened and persuaded the government to back down temporarily.

The camp, located in eastern Kenya, is home to more than 200,000 refugees, mainly of Somali origin who fled the war in their country.

The latest refugees to return to Somalia from Dadaab arrived in Baidoa and were received and assisted by officials from South West State Commission for refugees & IDPs.

According to UNHCR, the voluntary repatriation program is viewed as a desirable long-term solution for most refugees around the world.

The agency says it has helped more than 90,000 Somali refugees return home from nine different countries of asylum.

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.

The conflict has forced millions of Somalis from their homeland.