UN refugee agency to close sixth camp as Somalis leave Ethiopia
As the last of some 18,000 Somali refugees return home from a camp in eastern Ethiopia, the United Nations refugee agency today said it plans to close the facility, the sixth of eight in Ethiopia to be shut down.
Since its voluntary repatriation programme began in May, 14,000 Somalis have returned home from the Camaboker camp in eastern Ethiopia, while another 4,000 are waiting to follow on two final convoys as soon as weather conditions improve in the region.
The UN agency had already closed its camps in Hartisheik B, Darwanaji, Teferiber, Rabasso and Daror camps, all in eastern Ethiopia.
A UNHCR spokesman in Geneva said the agency would begin to repatriate the 11,714 refugees in Hartisheik A camp but that its work could be affected by the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan, to be observed next month, as well as the upcoming elections in Somaliland.
Many of the Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia's have lived in exile for over a decade, having fled during Somaliland's war of secession in 1988. Hundreds of thousands more fled following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in Somalia and the ensuing outbreak of civil war.