Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Five Dead, Many Injured in Communal Violence

By KANERE Staff Writer, Dec 2019

At least five people were killed in an inter-ethnic conflict in Kakuma Refugee camp that spanned at least 3 days. The conflict was sparked on the evening of December 10, 2019 during a football match between the South Sudan and Sudan football teams at Kakuma 3, Zone 2, Block 13. What started as a skirmish on the football pitch escalated as larger revenge attacks were carried out in places of residence. By the next day, much of Kakuma 3 was affected by general insecurity and movement by both foot and vehicle were halted for days, including for NGOs.

Gatjack, a leader in Kakuma 3, explained how the fight began: “There was a football match between Nubians (team Sudan) and Lotuko (team South Sudan) on December 10th. The South Sudan team included a Dinka player as a goalkeeper. Nubians succeeded in scoring a goal. The Nuer spectators were supporting Equatorians, and they were standing right behind the Nubians goalkeeper. They laughed when a goal was scored, and then the Dinka goalkeeper beat one of the boys who had laughed at him. At this point, the other Nuer was watching from the distant came and tried to stop the goal keeper. Then the Nubians came and chased the Nuer guy who tried to save the small boy who was being beaten. There was a lady who was watching this, and she came and informed the Nuer youth in the community.”

People who had been watching the conflict closely told KANERE that youth groups are using social media platforms like WhatsApp group messaging to mobilize and attack each other.

The sister to one of the deceased explained, “People fought here and we had no idea what was going on. On the morning of December 11th, they organized and came to attack us at Kakuma 3, Zone 3, Blocks 8. They started beating everyone, so most people ran to river. The attackers even went to Clinic 7 area, but they were pushed back by our youths. People died on that day. In the morning they came but they were chased away. I left my brother with three boys in my home and went around communities, they came and killed him the two boys lucky as they run and escaped. She added that he was a 13 years old boy.

Photo shows a football match between South Sudanese team in Kakuma/KANERE

The Nuer community living in Blocks 6 and 7 of Zone 3 claimed that they are not feeling safe. Because the blocks are located on the outskirts of Kakuma 3, the attackers might come any time for revenge.

A 22-year old boy told KANERE they came for the first time, they chased us and captured two of us. They were beaten to death I lost consciousness and so they thought I was dead. They left us there and I was fortunate to survive.”

The leader also told KANERE that “they might come any time for revenge, so we are having sleepless nights.”

“Our team had a Dinka goalkeeper and he fought with a Nuer boy who was supporting the Equatorials. Then Nubians tried to solve the fight because the two tribes had a historic feud. So, the Nubians sent away the Dinka keeper to avoid further escalation. Then everyone went on with the match. On the evening of December 10, one of the players was sitting in front of his shelter. The youth from the other side came and beat him with Pangas. The youth passed away while he was going to the hospital.

I received the warning message not to come back to my shelter. They sent a person whom I knew him very much,” Selman, a displaced Nubian told KANERE.
“They are saying it was started due to football, but let me tell you this is not just a football feud. There was something behind it. The Nubians and Nuers have not been fighting like this. They are actually not our enemies, but they were blindfolded by our historical enemies. This was politically motivated. We think it was financed from Juba,” explained Choul, a youth leader in Kakuma 2.

However, Menkoyer, a youth leader in Hong Kong, dismissed Choul’s views, claimingthat he lacks credibility. Peace was brokered with the help of Refugee Affaires Secretariat (RAS) and Darfurian community elders over the course of two days of leaders’ meetings. However, many Nubians who were displaced from their shelters refused to return back to their shelters.

“Conflicts between refugees or with host, if not managed well, ran the danger of implementation of the Kalobeyei Integerated Socio-Economic Development Programme(KISEDP) which has been hailed as a global model for integration of refugee and Host community.” Top GOK official said in a meeting at UNHCR compounded on the time of resolving conflicts between Somali and Turkana Community on July 13, 2019.

Photo shows a football match between South Sudanese team in Kakuma/KANERE

Abadi Hussen, who is a spokesman for 56 displaced Nubians living in Kakuma, explained, “I was living in the Gambela Community and our community leaders – for both block leadership and security – are Nuer. So, we feared for our lives and took refuge at Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Kakuma 1.’’

“We solved our differences with the help of RAS and our Darfurian brothers. But our communities refused to return back to their shelters, especially those who were displaced from Kakuma 3, Zone 3, Blocks 1,2,4,5,6,8,12 and 13. Also people from Kakuma 2, Zone 2, Block 6. They feared they might be attacked.”

Even long after the conflict was resolved, some Nubians who were displaced from their shelters were still living with other Nubians in Kakuma 3.

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