Four families from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps have reached Luq, where they have been given temporary shelter before going on to their final destinations in Gedo region.
Fatuma Yasin Hirsi, a mother of five, lived in Hagadera camp for eight years after fleeing her original home in Gedo’s Abudwak district. She was among the 24 people resting at Luq after three days on the road from Dadaab.
She said life as a refugee was hard and did not live up to her expectations, so she had signed up to be assisted to return home.
“Previously I was told that people were being resettled to third countries. But life was miserable; we were demeaned and treated badly. I am now very happy that I have returned to my home country,” she said.
Abdullahi Ali Dhi’is lived in Hagadera for six years and said he was very happy to be going home.
“We had no freedom in the camps; freedom of movement was restricted for us. We were not given enough food. We always feared to be arrested by the police. But I am now relaxed and have nothing to fear,” said Abdullahi, who was originally displaced from a village near Luq.
UNHCR has established a way station in the outskirts of Luq, where the returnees receive food, medical treatment and a cash grant to support the return.