Sudanese inter-community conflict
In Kakuma camp a conflict between two Sudanese communities has resulted in one dead and several others seriously injured.
Conflict broke out between Sudanese Dinka Bahr-el-ghazal and Nubian tribes on Monday 9th April 2012 at Juba football field in Kakuma 1 zone 3 of Kakuma refugee camp. The fighting started near the Anglican Church at about 5 p.m. following some misunderstanding between the two groups early in the previous week.
The fight later escalated to the use of arrows, spears and pangas that landed many in refugee hospital that evening. At the beginning the reason for the fight was not established immediately. It was discovered that on 31st March 2012, the youths from both groups had a problem over which team should play first at the football field, despite their set rule which was not followed to according to one Nubian youth leader. “The rule is simple, first come, first to play at the field,” A. Ali told KANERE.
The local guards alerted police at the zonal Hong Kong police post who arrived and maintained peace. However, by nightfall, at least six Nubians and five Dinka youths were transported to the refugee main hospital including a 15 year old Nubian girl. “I saw people attacking each other like animals; many of them are bleeding on their arms and head,” said Racial, a pupil at Kaduguli Primary school. On reaching the refugee hospital, two Dinka Bahr-el-ghazal and one Nubian youth Aluga Amudha were referred to Kakuma Mission Hospital as their situation was worsening.
KANERE found that the conflict started due to some prolonged misunderstanding and culture of hatred between these groups. It was also discovered that both groups used to share Juba Football Field and the water point at block 4. Both groups remained in hiding and held secret meetings that night. The police and General Service Unit (GSU) provided some security patrols throughout, however early the following morning of 10th April 2012 the fight resumed. Juba football field became a battlefield for Nubians and Dinka Bahr-el-ghazal who included youths and middle aged men carrying crude weapons. “We found a group of armed youths from both groups. Some youths have weapons and defending mechanisms more that the others. Killings should not happen,” said a Burundian who resides near Juba Football Field in block 3.
Several gunshots were fired to separate the fighting groups. Youth leaders of both groups explained that the conflict was escalated by revenge assaults made by individuals over slight and simple issues that could have been solved through a dialogue. However, both groups claimed that the Hong Kong Area police officers neglected to take proper security measures when the case was reported to this station many days before the actual fight. “We have reported the matter but the police here were not serious with their job. We don’t trust them either,” said an anonymous Nubian youth. “Because of the poor performance, the police boss at Hong Kong police station and several other officers were recently transferred,” added a Dinka local security man speaking anonymously to KANERE. At the scene of the battle, there were bloodstains. Youths with crude weapons also hid among the bushy shrubs in that zone during coverage of the scene by KANERE journalists.
At around 14:00 hours, Aluga Amudha was reported dead at Kakuma Mission Hospital following the assault and injuries sustained. “Aluga was deliberately beaten by the mob with a dangerous object,” said his relative H. K. Meanwhile two other Dinka youths were fighting for their lives at Kakuma Mission Hospital. It was learnt that all casualties suffered from mob justice during that conflict. Aluga Amudha was a former head boy of Kakuma Refugee Secondary School in 2011. His death created shock waves cross the Nubian community at Kakuma Camp. This caused more police patrols in the area to separate the groups and confine them to their blocks.
By 15:00 hours, community leaders from both groups were transported by UNHCR vehicles to Kakuma District Commissioner’s office for a resolution meeting between the leaders. “We will not tolerate war. We will hold leaders and elders responsible in any event of this conflict,” said the D.C. in his speech addressing the meeting. “There is one death, six and five injuries from Nubians and Dinka Bahr-el-ghazal respectively,” said the Chairperson for the Sudanese administration in the camp.
On the 13th April 2012, two Dinka Bahr-el-ghazal were airlifted to AIC Kijabe hospital in Nairobi following serious injuries they both sustained in the conflict. Discharge diagnosis stated open ulna fractures – Gustillo. One patient, L.Yom aged 17, suffered a sharp cut in the head, both hands and his right leg broken, and was not discharged till the 11th May 2012. Yom stated that he was assaulted without cause as he was not aware of the conflict at the time, and knows the physical appearance of those who assaulted him. “I was freely walking from church. I was beaten by 6 Nubians. I will not be happy in my life now,” Yom, who is currently on a wheelchair, told KANERE.
KANERE wishes to enlighten the two communities that refugees should live in peace and harmony for better governance of their communities while in exile. We address the fact that life should be lived with a purpose and vision rather than to kill fellow brothers in a foreign lan