Chaos at Kakuma as refugees clash over food and water


Some of the refugees flee the Kakuma camp after clashing over food and water. [Bakari Ng'ela, Standard]

Several people have been injured at the Kakuma camp as refugees clashed over resources.

The chaos between 500 refugees said to be asylum seekers from different countries left four of them nursing injuries.

Reports indicate the four were admitted to a hospital following the skirmishes involving Burundian and South Sudanese nationals who are yet to attain refugee status and secure admission to the camp.

The asylum seekers reportedly fought over the sharing of food and water in the refugee camp’s reception area.

Following the night attacks, several asylum-seekers moved out of the refugee camp with their belongings to protest what they termed as insecurity in Kakuma.

A section of the refugees said a section of the areas where they lived temporarily as they awaited the processing of their documents was congested.

Turkana West Sub-County police commander Richland Muracha said the attacks involved asylum seekers who were being vetted to ascertain whether they were fit to be refugees.

Muracha said the fighting was further fueled by revenge attacks. He said those involved in the fights were onward movers.

“They are given food by World Food Programme and the rations are based on the sizes of their families, but others feel like one group is favoured,” Muracha said.

He asked the fleeing asylum seekers, a majority of them from South Sudan, Burundi, and Congo to return to the camp pending determination of their qualification to be refugees.

Muracha confirmed that those injured were hit by stones, pangas and slashes.

Some of the refugees flee the Kakuma camp after clashing over food and water. [Bakari Ng'ela, Standard]

“Many of them sought asylum in Kenya because of political instability in their countries. We want them to be patient as authorities ascertain whether they are fit to be admitted as refugees,” he said.

He asked the asylum seekers to respect Kenyan laws.

A Directorate of Refugee Services at the camp Sammy Koech said an assessment had been done and they were waiting for a determination whether the asylum seekers would be integrated to the refugee community or returned to their countries.

Koech said they had stayed at the camp for a long time waiting for the determination.

“We are urging them to return to the camp because that is where their security is guaranteed,” he said.

He said the camp was receiving at least 200 asylum seekers every week.

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