Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Political refugee killed by Kakuma police

Posted in Human Rights, Humanitarian Services, News Updates, Peace and Security by KANERE on February 11, 2018

By KANERE News Desk

Murder of an Ethiopian refugee man remain a misery to relatives and community

Kenya police officers killed an Ethiopian political refugee on suspicion of theft of UNHCR’s solar panels in Kakuma.

The incident happening in the evening of 17th April at around 10:30pm. The victim, Saladhin Wako Halakhe, was an Oromo by ethnicity and was on a resettlement plan to the United States. He was employed by the Norwegian Refugee Council, an NGO in the camp. The victim was on the night shift when he was killed.

More than 10 bullets were fired at the victim at close range. “I counted ten bullets holes in his body, two on the neck,” a close relative of Saladhin told KANERE.
The Kakuma police alleged that Saladhin had stolen solar panels from UNHCR premises within the camp settlement area that’s known as ‘Hong Kong’. Close relatives of the deceased said the police captured their victim and murdered him while he was begging for mercy. He died instantly at the scene of the murder, at Kakuma 1 zone 3 block 2.

(Halakhe – Ethiopian-Oromo political refugee killed by kakuma police in the camp)

According to the local residents interviewed by KANERE, the police officers who killed Saladhin Wako Halakhe took him from his work station where he was an operator for a night guard on duty at a water tank generator in block 2. The armed cops assaulted the victim before taking him across the other side of the road to block 3 in the same zone. Then, they started shooting at the entrance of a local network booster in the camp. “I heard him crying and asking for mercy for more than ten minutes, then gun rumbles followed,” an anonymous witness told KANERE.

Extrajudicial Killing

Many of the community members and neighbors to Halakhe argued that the manner in which the police killed the suspected thief constituted extrajudicial killing in the camp.

Early that morning the residents within that block came out protesting on the street to raise their voice over the police action but none of the camp authorities came to attend to them. “We gathered at the scene of murder, we were shocked and nobody can question the police action,” a Sudanese local elder addressed the mourning crowd.

KANERE alerted UNHCR and broke the story on social media to get attention to the case but none of the camp authorities could question the police and no legal procedures followed over the murder. The relatives of Halakhe who tried to follow up the case at Kakuma police station were rather faced with warning signs to stop any accusation attempt. “I was summoned and warned of negative repercussion if I will try to sue the police over the murder of Saladhin Halakhe,” an anonymous witness told KANERE.

(Halakhe – Ethiopian-Oromo political refugee, his killing spot in the camp)

Eight months down the line, no investigation of Saladhin Wako Halakhe’s murder has been carried out by the camp authority.

Despite the fact that UNHCR has been paying millions of US Dollars out of the annual allocation of funding that comes to refugee camps, the Agency has failed to train the armed forces who are often deployed to refugee camps in Kenya on humanitarian code of conduct, human rights and refugee protection.

In general, the Kenya Police (National Police Service) and General Service Unit – GSU are in charge of camp patrols and security measures but the camp residents are fearful of the armed forces following their negative behaviors both in the refugee camps and urban areas in Kenya.

Wako’s family and relatives are waiting in limbo about the outcome of the case which remains a huge misery.

The deceased left behind a wife and two kids.

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