Dear KANERE readers here & abroad,
The future is unpredictable at the cosmopolitan camp of Kakuma! The refugees are fed on rations, schooled, used as tool of aid promotion and warehoused! And who knows what lies ahead? But you can speculate!
In this issue, we focus on different stories: The South Sudanese crisis has massively impacted Kakuma with more than 20,000 new arrivals seeking asylum in Kenya since the start of violent conflict in Juba in December. The camp has literally changed from the makuti thatched roofs and old mud walls to a tent city.
In the months of January through March, Kakuma experienced hectic weather conditions compounded by the high temperatures, dry spell and dust storms. On many occasions, huge sandstorms have swept through the settlement, which was believed to be the root cause of fire outbreak of which more than ten incidents were reported. Kakuma 4 settlement area had the worst experiences of the dust storms in the open space.
A murder scene at Kakuma 1 has created tension between refugees and the host community when a local Turkana man who deliberately stabbed a refugee child to death was killed by a group of refugees from the Didinga community; while the makers of illicit alcoholic drinks have suffered the negative outcome of the Police raid.
From Dadaab refugee complex, the security situation continues to fluctuate. On 8 January, an improvised explosive device was detonated on the road between Dadaab and Dagahaley camps that was set to target the police vehicle which escorted the humanitarian workers to the camps. All humanitarian activities were suspended in the field following a security assessment, and normal activities resumed after a week.
Moreover, on 4 January fire broke out in Dagahaley’s MSF medical warehouse in the MSF residential compound, destroying all drugs, medical equipments and therapeutic food stock which was estimated to cover four to six months – all burnt to ashes. According to the official camp report, the cause of the fire is suspected to be an electrical fault.
For Turkana County, the calamitous drought has already aggravated the suffering of thousands of victims, where residents live a nomadic way of life with their animals. The starvation has become a double disaster for the county population, including the refugees who were affected by the cut in the food rations since 2013.
And finally, a Journalism workshop was offered by KANERE in partnership with the Arrupe Learning Center in the Camp. The workshop invited youths in the community to engage in interactive discussions and critical thinking. KANERE will aim to provide more media training opportunities to empower refugee youths to be potential storytellers and news gatherers.
The story of a Turkana wedding ceremony was an intercultural high point and enhancement of religion and diversity in old Kakuma refugee camp.
As always, we’ve missed a few spots. However, we’re dedicated to the spirit of a free press and to autonomy of critical thinking. We are asking for contributions from general readers and most specifically from the elite refugee youths in telling local stories.
We hope that you’ll enjoy reading KANERE News,
Qaabata Boru – KANERE Editorial Executive
“I was running, stepping on the bodies of the people lying, some are in their last minutes dying. I don’t know what would happen to them,”
- Chuol Ajak, a Dinka newly arrived southerner, told Kanere at Kakuma 4/ “The Fate of South Sudan”
“This is a good reminder that culture is not really static. While their different songs embody a particular worldview, they seemed united by a common thread; joy was that common thread,”
- Father Paul Vidal, a Jesuit priest/ “Turkana Wedding Ceremonial”
“We are asking humanitarian support to save the lives of the thousands who are displaced and living in hunger,”
- Turkana County Governor – Josphat Nanok told Kanere/ “Alarming human disaster in Turkana”
“This thing is illegal but we don’t get enough food for children, do we eat stones to live?”
- a woman who wished to remain anonymous stated at Kakuma 1/ “Police raid on illicit brews”
“I was at the scene, the place was very noisy and crowded with drunkard people, and the child was stabbed with a sharp knife and died,”
- A Lotuko woman told Kanere/ “Murder scene at Kakuma 1″
“I was flabbergasted. I never imagined this could happen, I never lit the fire and we didn’t even cook a breakfast that day because there is no food in the house,”
- Anger Dowel, a South Sudanese fire victim told Kanere at Kakuma 2/ “Fire Outbreak”
“I barely escaped death, in some towns like Bor and Jonglei people are identified by ritual marks and killed,”
- Duop Nhial – a South Sudanese Nuer new arrival – told Kanere/ “The Fate of South Sudan”
“The child is our pupil who is learning in standard 2 West, the incident happened outside the school compound but we felt strongly sorry about it,”
- A school teacher at Jabel-Marra primary told Kanere/ “Murder scene at Kakuma 1″
“They told us they wanted to be baptized in the Church and become deacons. Since that day, the boys brought many other friends, neighbors, and family members to join the Church,”
- Father Fikremariam, a Monk at the Medhanealem Ethiopian Orthodox church/ “Turkana Wedding Ceremonial”
“I did not prepare these drinks, it was not mine, I was brought to police station after they beat me,”
- The accused, Susan Etati – claimed to have been charged unfairly, she told Kanere/ “Police raid on illicit brews”
The December war crashing from inside Juba – capital city of South Sudan – has resulted in thousands dead and more than 650,000 people displaced.
The police raid on illegal alcoholic drinks has resulted in several local manufacturers suffering the outcome in Kakuma 1. (more…)
Kenya’s Meteorological Department has raised alarm over the persistent drought while the government urges the pastoralists to sell their animals to the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC).
A Turkana man who stabbed a refugee child to death was killed in mob justice
At least 33 youths including volunteer staff of KANERE News turned up for a journalism workshop at Arrupe Learning Center. (more…)
The predominant fire incidents have brought worries to many of the block residents in the Camp.
Deacon Michael Eroo and Stella Akom were married, supported by a colorful crowd cheering in many different languages. (more…)
Dear KANERE readers,
This is the last issue of the recently concluded year 2013, but there are still very many stories and news around the camp within the Turkana country that were left untold. Of course, we may not be able to accomplish everything and human resources are highly needed to help the refugee media to achieve its objectives.
However, we are continually making changes to improve refugee reporting in an open, transparent and free expression in comparison to humanitarian desired reporting on refugee protection and service deliveries in encampment. We will strive hard to remain vibrant in 2014.
In this issue we welcome a contribution from Brett Shadle, an Associate Professor of African History at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. His contribution focuses on refugee rights violations under warehousing, questioning whether the refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures and life as they live in limbo!
We are tapping into the human aspect on the escalating deadly violence within the Turkana country that claimed at least 25 lives between the two rival communities of Turkana and Pokot in the fall of last year. The two nomadic groups often clash over cattle rustling and boundary disputes.
KANERE has interviewed a large number of Somali refugees on the community talking point: “What do you think about the Somali repatriation?” Their perspectives constitute a range of public opinion!
In Kakuma 1 camp settlement, a family mourns after their residential house burst into flames killing three children last December, that left unforgettable sad memories for many residents. In line with humanitarian best practices, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism throughout Kakuma. The RCK’s legal awareness training was mostly welcomed as it was found meaningful by refugee communities in terms of their pro bono legal advice for refugees in the camp.
Moreover, the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process has slowly been taken over from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR by the Kenyan Government through the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA), which has assumed full responsibility for the RSD process in Kakuma refugee camp. In 1991, in unclear circumstances, UNHCR was given the responsibility of conducting the RSD on behalf of the Kenyan government. However after many decades of UNHCR performing the vital role of the state, the refugees and asylum seekers are unclear about UNHCR’s accountability! Have they failed the refugees?
On press freedom, one alarming incident was recorded over the year where a Kanere reporter was assaulted and his cell phone crushed by an NGO local guard as he photographed an event in September 2013. The matter was reported to the police and justice is waiting to be done on the case.
On behalf of all the members of KANERE team, I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year 2014 with more peace and freedom.
We love to hear your feedback,
Qaabata Boru – Kanere Editorial Executive
“We could not establish the cause of the fire and had no knowledge why the kid’s mother had tied her son in chains except that the boy had mental problems,”
- local security guard told Kanere/ “House fire killed three children”
“We have already taken over the full responsibility for the RSD process from the UNHCR,”
- DRA official in Kakuma office disclosed/ “RSD Transition”
“These forums will target largely the new arrivals among others to enlighten them on the laws as per the Refugee Act, their rights and obligations,”
- Martin Pepela – Programme manager RCK Kakuma – told Kanere/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I was born in Kenya (Malindi) but my parents came from Kismayo. I am living with nine members of my family in Kakuma. I have never been to Somalia and all I know is about Kenya but despite the fact of owning a nationality by virtue of birth I don’t have a Kenyan Citizenship. The repatriation of Somalis could be premature. The country is not safe or stable. It might have improved by 50% but it’s not the right time to return refugees into that war-torn place. I think the refugee leaders should be allowed to go and see and return mission to understand current situation of peace in Somalia. Therefore, while life in exile is unpredictable the Somali refugees should not be forced to return to Somalia,”
- Ahmed Yusuf, a student at Bor-town secondary school/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”
“Most of the locals have guns because the two counties share porous borders with Uganda and S. Sudan where they import the firearms from,”
- a North Pokot government official said in a comment/ “Pokot militia besiege Turkana villages”
“Refugee communities tremendously thanked your advocacy role and provision to accompany and protect refugee rights in Kenya,”
- a Congolese Zone 3 refugee leader recognized/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I ran out of my house due to huge smoke and I saw the house was burning from its roof,”
- Mohamed Qarnole/ “House fire killed three children”
“My habitual residence was in Gedo before I fled to Kenya in 2000. The peace in Somalia is still in the hand of the terrorist groups, thus I can’t go back now. The solution would be to make the ground safer for the returnees. People should be able to have access to social needs such as the rights to education, health care and food security. Therefore the International community should facilitate a better structured security for the returnees. You should not just decided to throw people like stones into the desert and watch them dying shamelessly. It may not add value to humanity,”
- M. Said, a social worker with LWF/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”