Somalia refugees who have been adjusting to a new life in Kenya said they are frustrated by the country’s decision to close the Dadaab refugee camp and send them home.
Some of the refugees in the camp have already resettled in a new camp situated about 12 kilometers south of the capital, Mogadishu.
A mother of eight, Nurto osman said she was given an official voluntary repatriation form issued by the United nations refugee Agency and two birth certificates, one for each of her younger children born in the Daadab camp.
We fled famine in Diinsoor in 2010, we fled to Kenya where we were welcomed by the Kenyan government -there we received education and many other benefits.
Osman is among the 180 Somalis who have recently returned to Somalia, ahead of Dadaab’s closure later this year.
“We fled famine in Diinsoor in 2010, we fled to Kenya where we were welcomed by the Kenyan government -there we received education and many other benefits – now Kenya wants that camp closed – we decided to voluntarily return to Somalia but now my children have all stopped going to school,” said Osman
She said despite being promised a stipend of $2,000 to voluntarily return to Somalia, she has only received less than half of the amount.
Osman complained that the move has been traumatic for her and her children.
“In Kenya, I was enrolled in a good school in the camp. My plan was to finish my education, enroll in a university in Kenya and come back and be a teacher in Somalia – Kenya’s decision to close the camp forced us to return back here, I have dropped out of school and I have no hope at the moment,” said Hassan Hussein, Osman’s son.
According to her,she and her family are likely to remain in the camp for the next few years, as they cannot go back home to Diinsor as it is currently under control of the militant group Al-Shabaab.
Authorities in Kenya plan to close the Dadaab camp, a move some analysts said is “logistically impractical”.
Dadaab is the world’s largest camp with five various camps mostly made up of Somalia population.