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IGAD leaders convene special summit on Somalia’s refugees

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March 24, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and international organisations will meet on Saturday in Nairobi to endorse a durable regional solution for Somali refugees.

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Somali refugees wait to see the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres at the Ifo camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border, May 8, 2015 (Photo Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

Almost one million Somalis refugees are displaced within the East and Horn of Africa region, particularly in Kenya which stopped registration of new refugees as aid groups point to a looming famine situation in Somalia.

Ahead of Saturday’s summit, IGAD ministerial committee including security and refugees officials Friday held a special session on "Durable solutions for Somali refugees".

The newly elected Somali President, Mohamed Farmago, is expected to address the African leaders regarding the persistent drought-induced looming famine condition that has hit the country and further will urge regional and international donors assist his country.

He is also expected to hold talks with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, to ask him to extend Nairobi’s plan to Shut down Dadab, largest refugee camp where tens of thousands of Somali refugees are sheltered.

The African leaders are expected to come up with a comprehensive plan of actions towards solutions for the protracted displacement.

Ahead of the summit, NGOs are calling upon leaders to translate words into actions to realise the initiative for Somali refugees.

NGOs argued that the international community must provide adequate long-term political and financial support for the IGAD led initiative.

NGOs further called on international financial institutions to cancel Somalis debt in order the country to be able to receive enough global support.

The special summit is being convened as the east and horn Africa faces severe drought.

The UN has already precipitated famine in parts of South Sudan.

Currently, an estimated 1.1 million Somalis are internally displaced while over 900,000 are refugees in the region many of them displaced over a decade ago.

(ST)

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