Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Violent Robbery in Kakuma1

Posted in News Updates, Peace and Security by KANERE on April 16, 2012

Three male and two female Ethiopian refugees in kakuma1 zone1 block11 barely escape death at gunpoint; robbers attempt to rape one of the females.

On the 18th night of January 2012 at 03:00am, a gang of five unknown men armed with AK 47 rifles broke into the shop that is attached to the family home of Sija, a 20 year old Ethiopian male refugee. The men are suspected to be from the host community. They robbed the house and attempted to rape one of the female relatives.

The robbers destroyed the fence of Clinic 4 and broke another smaller gate before reaching the community. They also broke the third gate before accessing the family compound. One of the family members was sleeping outside the house and was woken up by whispers. He was then tied with rope to a tree. Upon hearing unfamiliar murmers outside the house, Sija opened the door to the house where four relatives were sleeping only to be ordered at gunpoint “to lie down.” “I was shocked by the strange reality, I was ordered to lie down at gunpoint,” said Sija  Immediately, three armed men forced themselves into the house and ordered. “No one move; all of you lie down.”

They searched the house and took valuable items: a Television, two DVD players, two Amplifiers, a solar panel, a box of 1.5V batteries, an inventor and some household utensils from the kitchen. The robbers asked for mobile phones and cash. “They woke me up, then one of them put a gun near my neck and told me to choose death or produce money,” added Sija

Sija suspects that the men must have known him and his house very well. They probably knew that the victim had the amount of money in the house. Despite the community being well fenced and gated,  the gang knew all the routes.

Attempted Rape
The robbers then attempted to rape the youngest female, a 15 year-old with fresh wounds from her month old caesarian birth. She talked to reporters in tears. After she was taken to the corner of the room, she struggled to resist an older man in his 30s. “He slapped me and pinned me down on the floor. I couldn’t allow him to… I’d prefer to die than to be raped before the eyes of my own brother,” said Mita.

The two male relatives who were lying down at gunpoint roared in an agony and pleaded not to have their female partners raped while they were alive. The men and Mita were beaten and sustained severe injuries. The rape was not successful.

After about an hour and a half, the robbers left the family compound. They packed everything and escaped through the same route. No gun shot was heard at the scene of the incident.

After the armed men had gone, the family were alarmed. The local guards and members of the community responded quickly. The police officers were alerted, and they visited the scene and found that the suspects had long disappeared.

However, with the help of the police, the trail that was disappearing towards the nearby village was followed together with about 20 people from the Ethiopian community. At about 05:15am, five suspected persons from the host community were arrested by the police in Natir1 village following the trekking of their foot steps and bicycles tires that lead into their homestead.

Early that morning, all the victims were able to record their statement with police. Among the five victims, only the minor girl of 15 was able to secure protection from UNHCR despite the claim of fear by the rest of the family. “We’ve gone everywhere. We’ve not got any protection assistance. We’ are in fear both day and night,” reported a family member.

The victims still complain of threats from individuals in the host community and fear that their case is being neglected. They do not understand why the security departments have failed to restore the lost property. According to a police statement, the case is still pending investigation though the suspects were released.

On the 11th of January 2012 at about 02:00hours in Kakuma1 zone1 block10, a gang armed with an AK 47 rifle invaded a hotel attached to a homestead of a 32 year-old female refugee in the Ethiopian community. The culprits accessed her compound after destroying the fence of Clinic 4 and proceeded to the house/hotel on breaking the main door. She reported that they stole a laptop, three Cameras, six mobile phones, clothes and Ksh 280,000 in cash. The robbers shot in the air while they were escaping. The victim complained to have sustained minor injuries. The case was reported to the police who visited the scene.

Additionally, several cases of robberies, murders, thefts and assaults have been occurring across the camp. While a majority of such cases get reported to authorities some do go unreported. When crimes are repored,  residents complain of inadequate follow-ups and weak security monitoring.

Over the past year, the relations between the host community and refugee population have improved but lately violent incidents have increased despite more police patrol vehicles and police posts being established in the camp settlement.

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