http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2018/12/04/feature-03

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2018-12-04

Iraq shuts down Kilo-18 displacement camp in Ramadi

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Buses prepare to transport the remaining displaced families from the Kilo-18 camp in Ramadi to their homes. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Defence Ministry]
Buses prepare to transport the remaining displaced families from the Kilo-18 camp in Ramadi to their homes. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Defence Ministry]

The Kilo-18 displacement camp in western Ramadi has been shut down, Anbar province's local government announced Tuesday (December 4th).

"We began in the last two days to return the last remaining families in the camp to their [original] areas of residence," said Mazen Khaled al-Dulaimi, advisor to the mayor of Anbar for IDP affairs.

"We have returned about 30 families, and another 40 families are on their way back to their homes in al-Qaim district," he told Diyaruna.

About 100 families from the Kilo-18 camp were transferred to the Tourist City camp in al-Habbaniya, eastern Anbar, he said, adding that they will be integrated with the remaining displaced families in the province.

One of the largest displacement camps in Iraq, Kilo-18 was inhabited by about 1,600 families who were displaced from their areas after the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) took control of several cities in Anbar.

"These families were mostly from Ramadi and were later joined by others from cities in the west of the province, most notably al-Qaim, Rawa and Anah, during a campaign to liberate those cities at the end of last year," al-Dulaimi said.

Their return has been taking place gradually and in batches since last year, he said.

"Whenever a city was liberated and cleared of explosives and its service sector rehabilitated, we would start helping its displaced population to return," he said.

Voluntary return

"Returning is not compulsory, but voluntary", he stressed, and in line with government policies that encourage people to return to their homes and re-integrate into their communities.

The Kilo-60 camp west of Ramadi was shut down in mid-2017, he said, while the al-Khalidiya camp -- which comprised 11 smaller camps -- was closed in late September.

"The three remaining camps include al-Habbaniya, Ameriyat al-Fallujah and Bazbiz, which currently host around 6,000 displaced families," said al-Dulaimi.

Bazbiz camp is the third on the list of camps to close down soon, he said. "We expect to close it over the next few days, and will then tackle the other two camps."

"We want to end displacement and turn this page forever," he said. "Our cities are liberated and right now experience security stability and a construction boost."

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