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More than 10,000 Somali refugees repatriated to Ethiopia

More than 10,000 Somali refugees who lived in three camps in eastern Ethiopia have returned home voluntarily since March, according to several sources.

The eastern regional refugee coordination bureau said the Somali refugees had been in camps at Rabasso, Daroro and Kamaboker, near the Somali border.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told AFP that the "voluntary returnees" had received food supplies to last them nine months, plus eating utensils.

They were also given 30 dollars each to help them settle in northern Somalia. Since 1997, some 90,000 Somali refugees have returned home voluntarily from eastern Ethiopia.

Of these 55,658 returned in 1998-99, according to the same source. More than 163,000 people remain in eight camps in eastern Ethiopia after fleeing the civil war in Somalia.

The UNHCR said in late November that Ethiopia was sheltering 262,000 refugees from several countries in the region in the west, south and east of the country.


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