Kenya is to reduce the population of the Dadaab refugee camp by half by the end of the year.
Kenya plans to close the camp, which had more than half a million refugees, citing security threats and claims that al-Shabaab has used the camp as a recruiting ground to launch attacks on the country.
A Tripartite Commission made up of Kenya, Somalia and the UNHCR said Dadaab had 326,000 refugees at the end of May, 100,000 less than five years ago, many of whom are believed to have returned to Somalia.
The commission added that the number would further be reduced due to “voluntary returns to Somalia, relocation of non-Somali refugees, de-registration of Kenyan citizens who registered as refugees, and a population verification exercise.”
The US and UN have urged Kenya to ensure no one is forced to return to Somalia, which is still struggling to rebuild after decades of conflict and still faces an Islamist insurgency.
The Tripartite Commission will meet again in October 2016 to review progress made “on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya.”