Six members of the Sudanese Nuer community were arrested by police in Kakuma 2 following inter-communal clashes
On Saturday, 14th September 2013 a fight started at a water point in Kakuma 2 Zone 2 Block 2 between a group of Sudanese Nuer fighting with Gambella-Anyuak people.
At least six men from the Sudanese Nuer group approached the Gambella-Anyuak members and caused injuries to a few individuals before they were rescued by local guards. The gang of six were arrested by police but released on free cash bail, following community interventions to solve the matter through UNHCR and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Peace Building and Community Resolution mechanism.
On the 17th September an immediate peaceful resolution was called for by the Peace Building Unit, where a dialogue meeting was held between the rival communities at Kakuma 2 church. The Agencies provided a warning to the leaders of both communities, which was followed by the calm of peace.
“We call upon the members of the community to maintain peace, it is unfortunate a child was involved whenever fights broke out,” said an LWF peace building official.
At least twelve people were treated at the camp refugee hospital for minor injuries. Among those complaining aggressively was a Gambella-Anyuak male aged 25 and a Sudanese Nuer woman aged 28 who claimed to be five months pregnant.
The UNHCR and LWF Peace Building team had at least three major meetings to settle these communities’ dispute. “It was such a hard task where both groups claimed compensation from each other for injuries caused during the fight,” an LWF Peace Worker said in a meeting.
Last June at least eight people died in a fight between Sudanese Murle and Nuer, including a 14 year old boy, while more than 20 people sustained injuries and were treated at the camp hospital.
Following the ugly incidents, at least 180 youths from both Murle and Nuer communities in Kakuma 3 were arrested and were later taken to Lodwar, but returned after a couple of days in a prison. “There are 160 Nuer which outnumbered only 20 Murle arrested in masses but released after strong warnings,” a government official commented.
The whole saga started back in Sudan in 2011 when Murle and Nuer each raided cattle from the rival community, as their traditions depict, and also abducted young girls. Some of these rival communities from South Sudan had to scuttle to Kenya due to violent war.
The troubles began when a Nuer family claimed a Murle child had once been abducted and that a Nuer family not living in the camp were the real biological family. However, the Murle family strongly maintained that the child is their biological daughter.
The Nuer family only claimed that a child who was abducted while in S. Sudan resembles the child living in the Murle family. The Murle family confirmed that the child is their biological daughter and the family had a birth certificate for the child.
Nonetheless, despite the aggressive violent conflict imposed by the Nuer family, they did not have any evidence that the child that the Nuer community claimed belonged to any Nuer family.
The troubles between the two families turned into a community issue and a tag of war confrontation ensued with full blown violent conflict. The community regrouped and mobilized their youths for further retreat before peace was secured by the General Service Unit of Kenya police force. The Administration Police kept vigil throughout the camp, especially in the areas of camps where the battlefield spot was marked.
According to information from Camp manager Mr. Abdi Abdullahi, the criminal offenders will face the court procedure and thereafter to be deported to their countries of origin upon completion of their jail term in Kenya.
Four day after the violent conflict, two rotting bodies were discovered in isolated bushes in Kakuma 3 and were buried immediately. It was believed that those corpses are among the people killed during the violent conflict and dumped.
From the past scenarios, the two tribes have been living with grudges against each other. These communities have become accustomed to conflicts where even simple negotiable matters are settled through violent methods.