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Kenya: 900 of 5,000 Somalis at Mandera now moved

Briefing notes

Kenya: 900 of 5,000 Somalis at Mandera now moved

25 June 2002

Nearly 900 Somali refugees from a group of some 5,000 who have been stranded in Kenya's north-eastern border town of Mandera for over two months have so far been moved to Dadaab refugee camp in five convoys since June 19. A sixth convoy was expected to depart this morning for Hagadera refugee camp, one of the three camps in Dadaab, which is home to more than 130,000 mainly Somali refugees. Two new sites in Hagadera are being developed to settle the refugees. Meanwhile, they are being assisted temporarily at a transit facility in the camp. Registration of the new arrivals is being carried out.

Over the weekend, a few more families arrived in Mandera from the Somalia border town of Bula Hawa, just over the border. The families say they fled in fear of renewed conflict in the area. On Sunday, refugees living at a makeshift camp near the border reported hearing gunfire in Bula Hawa, heightening tensions in the volatile border area. Registration for relocation to Dadaab, 500 km further south, is continuing.

Two waves of some 10,000 Somali refugees fled to Kenya to escape clan fighting which erupted in mid-April around their homes in south-west Somalia. Since then, nearly half of them have returned home.