NAIROBI, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency, UNHCR said on Friday that it has voluntarily repatriated 81,451 Somali refugees from Kenya as at July 31 since the voluntary return exercise began in December 2014.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its Monthly Update released in Nairobi that 6,085 of the refugees were returned in 2018, noting that 191 Burundians have also been assisted tor return home this year.
According to the UN refugee agency, there were 471, 350 refugees and asylum-seekers as of July 31.
Kenya, which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the formation of the transitional federal government of Somalia, says the refugee situation continues to pose security threats to Nairobi and the region apart from the humanitarian crisis.
The East African nation which has been planning to close the Dadaab refugee camp, has cited the influence of terror group al-Shabab as among the risks of keeping the camps open.
An estimated two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world's most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered its third decade.
Experts say continuing political and security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees.