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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Work out new living modalities with DCs, returning refugees told

9th July 2012
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees country representative for Somalia, Bruno Geddo (R), helps Rashid Abdallah Sai, a former Zanzibar refugee, on arrival at his family house at Chake Chake Pemba on Saturday. Left is Sai’s Somali wife, Shukri Mohammed. (Photo: Khalfan Said)

The Zanzibar government has directed all Tanzanians formerly exiled in Somalia to meet with their district commissioners to discuss various issues regarding their new life. Speaking during the official welcome back ceremony held at the Mkoani port last Saturday, seven of twelve families were in attendance.

The South Pemba regional commissioner, Kassim Tindwa, assured the returnees of peace and security and announced that five families had opted to remain in Stone town, Zanzibar as their final destination.

The RC told the former refugees told to report any problems to their respective district commissioners. However he cautioned that there are some individuals’ elements attempting to stir up trouble and advised they be avoided.

Two United Nations Humanitarian Services planes flew into Zanzibar from Mogadishu, 38 individuals including Tanzanians who fled the country following the 2000 post election violence on the Isles.

Zanzibar government officials put the death toll during the clash between police and opposition political party Civic United Front (CUF).

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), country representative in Somalia, Bruno Geddo, told The Guardian, that some families have remained in the war torn Nation and are yet to decide if they will return to the country despite the fact that UNHCR has provided a comprehensive reintegration package for both adults and children.

“We have assured them financial support that will help them during the integration process…” Geddo also urged the government to give them support.

Somali women married to the Tanzanian refugees, said the South Pemba immigration officer, Mohammed Suleiman, they are at this point, still regarded as Somali citizens.

“Their spouses should make a formal request to the immigration department for living permits…,” directed Suleiman.

Law requires all foreigners who want to be Tanzanian citizen to have stayed in the country for 10 years before being granted citizenship.

More than 2000 refugees left the Tanzanian island of Pemba in January 2001 following political riots and civil strife linked to the elections results in October 2000.

Supporters of the leading opposition political party in the Isle, Civic United Front (CUF) clashed with the police protesting the Isle presidential results.

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