Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

To: The Editor of Kakuma News Reflector

Posted in Arts, Contributors, Letter from the Editor, News Updates, Opinion by KANERE on March 23, 2020

I have been a reader of KANERE for a long while. Many refugees like myself feel that KANERE is the only independent media that gives voice to refugees in both the Kakuma camp and the Kalobeyei settlement.

I would like to raise some concerns about the different ways that refugees all over the camp have been suffering, sometimes due to oppressive humanitarian policies. We hope future publications will cover these issues:

The first issue is about the rations on which we survive in Kakuma. You are denied a ration card if you have missed two food distributions. If you miss, your ration card is permanently deactivated and you are told to register anew. Imagine, someone has stayed ten years and then misses just three months, and they are required to start everything as if they are a newcomer.

The ration system becomes a way to police people, as if we are locked up in the camp. I know a family of five who were in Nairobi for medical reasons. When they came back to Kakuma, they discovered that their ration card had been deactivated. After staying months without a ration, the card was finally activated but recognizing only two people in the household. What kind of humanitarian treatment is this? I have attached a photo of a family begging to the agencies to open up their ration card. I hope you will find a space to publish that photo.

The second issue is about mental health. A lot of people who have been suffering due to mental illness, and the numbers of suicides are rising. It is good to create awareness about suicide prevention, but doing this only occasionally cannot help us. Refugees need counseling, and I hope KANERE will raise this issue in future editions to sound the alarm for organizations and donors.

The third issue concerns documentation. The Refugee Affaires Secretariat (RAS) is understaffed. They need to add additional employees and budget so that they can more adequately serve refugees. It takes so long for us to retrieve vital documents and permissions. The latest figures that I have seen show that around 23,000 asylum seekers are waiting for decisions on their status. They lack interpreters, and this is a big challenge especially for those who do not speak Kiswahili.

Finally, the issue of Coronavirus: Refugees both in Kakuma and Kalobeyei are panicking due to news of the pandemic. I do not think the agencies will save us if the virus reaches here. Please let the world know that we have nothing to rely on. May Allah protect all of us.

I hope you will publish the above message.

Yours faithfully
Essa Suliyman – Kakuma Refugee Camp

Letter from the editors

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on July 31, 2019

Dear KANERE readers,

Welcome to our latest edition. We have had a long stretch without a new publication, largely due to the lack of funding for our operations, as well as interruptions while some staff and volunteers were moving from the camp to urban areas of Kenya or out of the region. However, our dedicated team in Kakuma – with the support of founding members abroad – will continue to work toward making KANERE a source of quality journalism.

Many of our stories are pertinent to various stakeholders in Kakuma, including refugees, the international community, and the humanitarian organizations that deliver aid. However, some of the stories will primarily be of interest to our audiences who live or have lived in the camp.

On July 10, armed conflict between Somali refugees and members of the host community resulted in at least three injuries, including that of a child. Our story includes analysis of the ways that such conflicts escalate and the repercussions for businesses and humanitarian operation in the camp.

In April, the Government of Kenya undertook a biometric registration process of all residents of the country in an attempt to prevent impersonation and fraud, authenticate personal data, and enhance access to government services. However, the programme has been criticized by citizens and right groups for publicizing citizens’ private information in violation of the constitution. A few months later, neither UNHCR nor the government’s Refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS) has commented on the ongoing biometric registrations of refugees in Kakuma. This silence has left many camp residents feeling uninformed.

This edition also includes articles covering an array of other issues pertinent to those living in Kakuma, including water shortages, a new mobile application designed for camp residents, and the lack of support for shelter maintenance and safety inspections. As is often the case, a number of the stories are distressing: we cover a wave of suicides by women in Kakuma, the murder and mutilation of a child in an outlying area of the camp, and the unsolved case of a bodaboda (motorbike) driver from Burundi whose murder remains a mystery to the community.

In an effort to use KANERE as a forum for perspectives from the refugee and host communities, we have included in this edition perspectives solicited from residents about Kalobeyei, a new site of refugee warehousing that has been described as an “integrated settlement”. We present a range of viewpoints on the prospects for integration at this site, some optimistic and others critical. Looking ahead, there is some disagreement on whether Kalobeyei should be called a new settlement or merely an extension of the Kakuma camps, an issue that will be discussed in our next edition.

As always, we thank all KANERE members and supporters for supporting the continuation of KANERE’s vital work disseminating up-to-date information and amplifying advocacy efforts by and for refugees. We strive to maintain a fair editorial decision emphasizing openness and integrity, and we continue to welcome submissions of timely stories and critical opinions to be considered for publication.

We also welcome commentary from camp residents, members of the host community, and those working within the humanitarian organizations to provide services to the warehoused populations. To contact our editorial team at KANERE, drop us an email at Kakuma.news@gmail.com


Qaabata Boru, Elias Lemma & G. Ibrahim
KANERE Editorial Team

Letter from the editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on December 31, 2018

Dear KANERE readers,

I was recently speaking to a friend who was unfamiliar with KANERE. I described the newsletter as “unique,” and when asked what makes KANERE different from other publications in Kakuma, my response was quick: its independence. There are a number of so-called “refugee magazines” that operate in the camp. They are branded with the refugee label but are run by humanitarian agency staff like Film Aid. These organizations are funded by the UN Refugee Agency, and it is in their interest to shape the portrayal of refugee camps in Kenyan and international media to convey a “humanitarian-positive” view. Such narratives are not attuned to the perspectives and opinions of refugees themselves. This is how KANERE is different: its independence allows it to attend to refugees’ interests in a manner that is not mediated by agencies and external institutions.

Of course, there have been hurdles in sustaining this publication. When I moved from Kenya to Canada in 2017, most of my former responsibilities were passed to the incoming editor Elias Lemma. Elias then left for the US shortly thereafter under the refugee resettlement program. This was welcome news and a positive turning point in Elias’s life, as he had remained in Kakuma for nearly 15 years, despite his critical protection needs as an exiled journalist. But these transitions caused some setbacks, interrupting the smooth operation of the newspaper. Nonetheless, the KANERE team remained passionate about their reporting tasks. In early 2018, Elias transferred the editorial roles to G. Ibrahim, who is currently the managing editor of KANERE, leading the team of young and dedicated refugee journalists and reporters in Kakuma.

For refugees who are largely dependent on aid rations for survival, life in a camp like Kakuma is a series of ups and downs. The very existence of the camp, established in 1991, is a failure of the international law and a tacit acceptance of refugee warehousing. But within this context, there have been both positive and negative developments in terms of service delivery and the pursuit of durable solutions to the protracted displacement. This issue provides a lens on several of these developments.

The implementation of an innovative technological application of refugee verification known as Kiosk to Access Services and Information (KASI) has supported communication between refugees and agency staff. Agencies are promoting KASI as a way to allow refugees to access key information in their files. But for many refugees, lack of mobile phones and computer literacy remains a challenge.

The repatriation programs for refugees from Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi continue to provide a means for people to return to their countries of origin. These programmes are intended to be implemented strictly on a voluntary basis, but for many refugees’ personal and social circumstances, these countries remain unsafe for return.

Along with several other stories, we have also included a security update pertaining to the death of two refugees by gunshot wounds in Kakuma, which followed incidences of alleged robbery by violence.

As always, we welcome comments, opinions, criticisms and expert contributions to our editorial section, which can be submitted to us at kakuma.news@gmail.com.

As we move into 2019, Happy New Year from all of us at KANERE!


Qaabata Boru, Elias Lemma & G. Ibrahim
KANERE Editorial Team

Letter from the editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on February 11, 2018

Dear KANERE readers,

Welcome to this special edition that comes as the first of the year 2018. The Kakuma News Reflector didn’t have any publication over 2017 as a result of staff going for different things that includes: studies, work and traveling abroad.

However, KANERE is back on reporting again. The paper will remain purely a refugee run news service providing balanced and often untold horrible stories of camp life, humanitarian service deliveries and human rights.

As you may know, Kakuma is a highly cosmopolitan camp and life is one of continual dynamics which is fostered by the humanitarian setting of keeping the existing numbers and alternating new arrivals into the camps as sources of aid business. The more the numbers of refugees, the more campaigns would be momentum for more funding to the camps. Also, it’s a problem when there is a reduced number of refugees in the camp as the effect would be little funding which often leads to reduction in staffing, creating of gaps and cartels on refugee operation in-country or at the Africa bureau.

Nonetheless, despite the continuing high numbers of residents, Kakuma and Dadaab have encountered the worst humanitarian times recently as result of famine. Food rations were cut twice in 2017 as an outcome of condensed funding from the UN body after president Trump came to power. Several humanitarian agencies had to decelerate some of their refugee assistance programs in Kenya including RSC Africa – US Refugee Admission Program.

In Kakuma refugee camp, Trump’s negative policies on refugees have led to a perception of reduced freedom, safety and social connection among the refugee families who are torn apart globally.

Over several months Kakuma has experienced insecurity problems that has resulted in looting of homes at night, attacks that have caused injuries including sexual violence often committed by thugs who are armed with guns.

In an article from later April, a political refugee was murdered in the camp by Kenyan armed forces on an unjustified allegation of theft. Eight months down the line the murder of a refugee man remain a misery to relatives and the community.

A story on Kenya’s black market in “Refugee real estate” details its informal system of shelter ownership, and lack of formal legal protection that allow systematic corruption inside the camp among other stories.

We would like to welcome comments, opinions, criticisms and expert contribution to our editorial by writing to us at kakuma.news@gmail.com.


Qaabata Boru
Editorial Executive – KANERE

Letter from the Editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor, Opinion by KANERE on December 31, 2016

Dear KANERE readers,

It’s been many months without publication from us and this has been due to continued challenges over material support but we are back on reporting again.

Every time a new edition is out, it’s an anticipation for the voiceless camp resident. This is the thing we do, to provide uncensored stories and counter humanitarian propaganda on many issues surrounding refugee protection, by reporting facts or exposing some of the failures in the refugee operation.

In this edition, we bring diverse stories from across the camps but limited to a more critical coverage of the news items that don’t get reported in other media outlets.

There are stories as from late July where a refugee woman and her son died in a planned fire incident in the camp following a failure in the protection mechanism by the camp authority.

A story where a refugee child died in an aggressive road accident that involved a speeding humanitarian vehicle within the camp settlement vicinity was heartbreaking to many.

Additionally, a new way of census taking was launched by UNHCR through the Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS). The process emerged with new techniques and sophisticated software machines that record fingerprints and iris scanning of refugees.

And yet, KANERE met with a group of artist volunteers from Clowns Without Borders while they were bringing too much fun to school going refugee children in the camp. Our reporters followed them to their shows and interviewed the artists on why they came to Kakuma, and included their narrative in this edition.

A story on Kakuma’s fraud cases and a few others are lined up for you. Stay tuned until the next issue of KANERE for more vibrant coverage in the new year.

We would like to welcome your opinions and expert contributions by writing to us at – kakuma.news@gmail.com

The KANERE Editorial Board and the team, wish you a happy new year 2017.


Qaabata Boru

Editorial Executive – KANERE

Tagged with: , ,

Letter from the Editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on February 13, 2016

Dear KANERE readers,

This issue remains true to our core principles of providing rich and informative content in a manner that is easy for our readers to understand.

First of all, we apologise for the long stretch over the year 2015 without any publication from KANERE, this has been due to the lack of funding for effective reporting and material support that should enable smooth operation of the organization.

In this edition, we bring diverse stories from across the camp and the region thus with rather a double edition. There are stories from as late as October where refugees seized an AK47 rifle from identified attackers in the camp. In one incident, a refugee woman was gang raped and several cases of gender based violence continue to happen in the camp. The situation of insecurity has continued to deteriorate all through the fall of the year.

Additionally, at least four people have died following the El Niño rains. Hundreds of families have been displaced within the camp settlements as a result of the flooding that often threatened the transport systems. Meanwhile the introduction of Bamba Chakula – an initiative by World Food Program – has earned a negative reaction from the beneficiaries of the food aid. We have collected the opinions of the camp residents on the new system of cash vouchers, allowing refugees to share information on the issues of public interest that affect their lives.

Our editorial contribution for this edition comes from Kathleen Agena, a humanitarian and social justice worker and the founder of the Lindus Institute. Kathleen advocates that a realist approach to refugee crisis should be adopted in tackling the refugee crisis globally.

There are several other stories that are lined up for you and we will keep reporting in spite of the challenges.

As the true voice of the refugees, KANERE is seeking financial support in order to continue to give right to be heard to Kakuma residents and in the region.

Your contribution and feedback is of great value to us.

Best wishes for 2016!


Qaabata Boru

Editorial Executive – KANERE

Letter from the Editor August 2014

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on August 16, 2014

Dear KANERE readers,

I take this opportunity to welcome our readers through this double edition of KANERE. It’s with huge compliment as we send our heartfelt condolences to refugee communities in Kenya following the large scale security swoops that have targeted the refugee populations in the urban areas since April.

For several months, the weather in Kakuma remained warm and dry. The camp observed relatively fewer security problems as compared to a year earlier. However, some parts of the camp had experienced violent tribal conflicts among the South Sudanese communities that led to four people dead including a school going teenager.

In this issue, we are focusing more on the plight of the refugees in urban centers with in-depth stories illustrating facts about the recently launched ‘Usalama Watch’ or ‘Counter-terrorism’ operation.

The operation is an attempt to identify illegal aliens residing in the country and subsequently to eliminate the people from places the Kenyan government believes to be harboring terrorists. The operation had largely negative impacts on the foreigners and the refugees in the country, who have criticized and opposed the move.

The arrest and detention of refugees in the urban areas started on the 1st April as a part of a large scale security operation by the security machinery. It was followed by forced relocation to isolated refugee camps. Refugees interviewed by Kanere journalists, told of illegal arrests, extortion and detentions by police.

Hundreds of refugees, mainly of Somali origin, were deported without the due process of law. There are bitter stories of how families were split. Mothers were separated from their children and even by the end of July, there are several families who are not yet reunited.

During the month of April, many Non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian services, including the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR, kept silent. They might have reasons for this or are they too afraid to exercise their mandate? Refugees in Kakuma are speculating on what will happen if the Kenyan government decides to close all the camps and force the refugees out of the country?

As a double edition, we have other stories on the inter-clan conflict between the Diauechuk and Ayuel, subgroups of South Sudan’s Dinka tribes, and an in-depth-story on the “Lost Boys” of Sudan – a generation that has lost for the second time.

Other stories cover the refugee interpreters who went on protest demanding a raise in the incentive payment as employees of UNHCR; while as a tradition, the World Refugee Day was commemorated by both the camp residents and the members of the host community at Kalemchuch field.

The colorful day was “celebrated” by the humanitarian aid agencies and had high profile guests. Among other notables in attendance were US Ambassador Robert Godec, UK Ambassador Christian Turner and three other Ambassadors to Kenya, Government officials including the county commissioner for Turkana West.

In this past week Kenya witnessed its 17th explosion since the Westgate attack. The country has suffered scores of grenades, gunfire assaults and continues to face threats of terror attacks from Somalia based Al-Shabaab militia. However, it’s not yet clear why the US is pulling the Peace Corps Volunteers out of Kenya secretly!

In this edition, Kanere is reminding the Government of Kenya and UNHCR, in line with protection of refugees and asylum seekers in the country, that international law forbids the refoulement (forced expulsion) of refugees.

We are looking forward to a day that the governments, the world leaders and those who are directly dealing with refugees would have a better understanding and a well established mechanism for dealing with issues surrounding the security of persons of concern in need of international protection.

We hope by reading through these stories everyone can be able to act to the best of their ability for the protection of refugees globally.

Get back to us with your feedback, get involved, send your positive contributions as well as criticism!

Enjoy reading!


 Qaabata Boru

Editorial Executive – KANERE

Letter from the Editor March 2014

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on March 12, 2014

Dear KANERE readers here & abroad,

The future is unpredictable at the cosmopolitan camp of Kakuma! The refugees are fed on rations, schooled, used as tool of aid promotion and warehoused! And who knows what lies ahead? But you can speculate!

In this issue, we focus on different stories: The South Sudanese crisis has massively impacted Kakuma with more than 20,000 new arrivals seeking asylum in Kenya since the start of violent conflict in Juba in December. The camp has literally changed from the makuti thatched roofs and old mud walls to a tent city.

In the months of January through March, Kakuma experienced hectic weather conditions compounded by the high temperatures, dry spell and dust storms. On many occasions, huge sandstorms have swept through the settlement, which was believed to be the root cause of fire outbreak of which more than ten incidents were reported. Kakuma 4 settlement area had the worst experiences of the dust storms in the open space.

A murder scene at Kakuma 1 has created tension between refugees and the host community when a local Turkana man who deliberately stabbed a refugee child to death was killed by a group of refugees from the Didinga community; while the makers of illicit alcoholic drinks have suffered the negative outcome of the Police raid.

From Dadaab refugee complex, the security situation continues to fluctuate. On 8 January, an improvised explosive device was detonated on the road between Dadaab and Dagahaley camps that was set to target the police vehicle which escorted the humanitarian workers to the camps. All humanitarian activities were suspended in the field following a security assessment, and normal activities resumed after a week.

Moreover, on 4 January fire broke out in Dagahaley’s MSF medical warehouse in the MSF residential compound, destroying all drugs, medical equipments and therapeutic food stock which was estimated to cover four to six months – all burnt to ashes. According to the official camp report, the cause of the fire is suspected to be an electrical fault.

For Turkana County, the calamitous drought has already aggravated the suffering of thousands of victims, where residents live a nomadic way of life with their animals. The starvation has become a double disaster for the county population, including the refugees who were affected by the cut in the food rations since 2013.

And finally, a Journalism workshop was offered by KANERE in partnership with the Arrupe Learning Center in the Camp. The workshop invited youths in the community to engage in interactive discussions and critical thinking. KANERE will aim to provide more media training opportunities to empower refugee youths to be potential storytellers and news gatherers.

The story of a Turkana wedding ceremony was an intercultural high point and enhancement of religion and diversity in old Kakuma refugee camp.

As always, we’ve missed a few spots. However, we’re dedicated to the spirit of a free press and to autonomy of critical thinking. We are asking for contributions from general readers and most specifically from the elite refugee youths in telling local stories.

We hope that you’ll enjoy reading KANERE News,


Qaabata Boru – KANERE Editorial Executive

Letter from the Editor December 2013

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on January 8, 2014

Dear KANERE readers,

This is the last issue of the recently concluded year 2013, but there are still very many stories and news around the camp within the Turkana country that were left untold. Of course, we may not be able to accomplish everything and human resources are highly needed to help the refugee media to achieve its objectives.

However, we are continually making changes to improve refugee reporting in an open, transparent and free expression in comparison to humanitarian desired reporting on refugee protection and service deliveries in encampment. We will strive hard to remain vibrant in 2014.

In this issue we welcome a contribution from Brett Shadle, an Associate Professor of African History at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. His contribution focuses on refugee rights violations under warehousing, questioning whether the refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures and life as they live in limbo!

We are tapping into the human aspect on the escalating deadly violence within the Turkana country that claimed at least 25 lives between the two rival communities of Turkana and Pokot in the fall of last year. The two nomadic groups often clash over cattle rustling and boundary disputes.

KANERE has interviewed a large number of Somali refugees on the community talking point: “What do you think about the Somali repatriation?” Their perspectives constitute a range of public opinion!

In Kakuma 1 camp settlement, a family mourns after their residential house burst into flames killing three children last December, that left unforgettable sad memories for many residents. In line with humanitarian best practices, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism throughout Kakuma. The RCK’s legal awareness training was mostly welcomed as it was found meaningful by refugee communities in terms of their pro bono legal advice for refugees in the camp.

Moreover, the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process has slowly been taken over from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR by the Kenyan Government through the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA), which has assumed full responsibility for the RSD process in Kakuma refugee camp. In 1991, in unclear circumstances, UNHCR was given the responsibility of conducting the RSD on behalf of the Kenyan government. However after many decades of UNHCR performing the vital role of the state, the refugees and asylum seekers are unclear about UNHCR’s accountability! Have they failed the refugees?

On press freedom, one alarming incident was recorded over the year where a Kanere reporter was assaulted and his cell phone crushed by an NGO local guard as he photographed an event in September 2013. The matter was reported to the police and justice is waiting to be done on the case.

On behalf of all the members of KANERE team, I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year 2014 with more peace and freedom.

We love to hear your feedback,


Qaabata Boru – Kanere Editorial Executive 

Letter from the Editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on November 30, 2013

Dear Kanere community here & abroad,

Foremost, it’s with great enthusiasm that we announce that Kakuma News Reflector (or KANERE) has obtained its registration status as a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Kenya. KANERE strongly welcomes further collaboration from all the Government Departments within Turkana County, the Department of Refugee Affairs, the UNHCR Head of Sub-Office and other humanitarian agencies in Kakuma.

Currently, Kanere is being published on quarterly basis until better funding is available for a monthly or a more regular publication. In this issue, we discuss different patterns of news and incidents that took place inside and outside the refugee camp that affected the refugees in Kenya.

In the camp, some sad news concerned the inter-communal conflicts which persisted inside the camp. In the month of September inter-communal fights escalated between Nuer and Gambella-Anyuak where more than twenty people sustained injuries. However, in the middle of this year at least eight people were killed in the similar violence in the camp, a story featured in this edition.

Food rations were reduced, while since October collection of food in every distribution in Kakuma and Dadaab Complex has been based on an online fingerprinting system. This move has caused instability and alarm to the beneficiaries of food aid. According to the refugee communities, the introduction of “No match no food” in the bio-metric food collection system was largely opposed, but the World Food Program (WFP) stated that the move was to enhance transparency and accountability in food distribution and monitoring.

In the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Westgate terror attack had negative implications for refugees. The Kenya security machinery had to crack down in Kenya’s metropolis and major cities in the hunt for possible culprits, leading to arbitrary arrest and detentions of innocent refugees.

Following this insecurity, pressure has mounted in Kenya to close refugee camps and to return all Somali refugees to Mogadishu. The Governments of Kenya and Somalia have since worked closely with the UNHCR, establishing a Tripartite Commission on Standards and Procedures of voluntary repatriation for Somalis that was signed in Nairobi on Sunday 10 November, 2013.

However, since the Tripartite Commission was set up, xenophobia against Somali refugees has been on the rise both in camps and urban areas.

Nonetheless, the first (2010) Cohort to study in the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins online learning program received their Diplomas in Liberal Studies at a graduation ceremony at the Arrupe learning center.

On the international scene, Italy declared a national day of mourning after a boat packed with African migrants caught fire and sank off the island of Lampedusa, killing at least 300 people in October alone.

As an independent refugee media organization, Kanere seeks support and welcomes funding and material support from the UNHCR and any interested donors, either local or at the international level.

Have a wonderful day,


Qaabata Boru

Editorial Executive – Kanere

Letter from the Editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on August 28, 2013

To all Kanere readers and supporters,

It is only now that we have finally gotten the 14th issue of KANERE online but don’t worry “a bad beginning makes a good ending”. This is a double issue of Kanere, thanks to our reporters and other contributors to the publication.

We intend to produce KANERE in a quarterly edition but that would entirely depend on the efforts of Kanere staff, feasibility and the climate of media freedom within the Kakuma environs. However, we would want to move Kanere onto the next level by producing a print version to reach out to most vulnerable members of the refugee community who could not be able to read Kanere online. It would cost a lot for now but when amicable funds are made available, we intend to produce more than a thousand copies per issue.

In this edition, I welcome an academic feature contribution by Mandy Jam, a Dutch graduate student in cultural anthropology, based at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Mandy conducted her ethnographic research for MA that focuses on refugees’ perceptions and other competing discourses on the mode of governmentality within the camp, while considering the desperate situation of refugee adults who are born in Kenya camps – but have no right to citizenship.

Secondly, we take this opportunity to welcome a “Refugee Newsletter” produced and managed by an NGO in Kakuma. The new twist is sponsored and edited by FilmAid that works under the umbrella of UNHCR. While Kanere is run and entirely operated by refugee exile journalists completely independent of humanitarian control.

In this edition, we have compiled multiple stories for you; despite the fact that Kakuma has always been marked by insecurity and violence, the camp was relatively calm for several months. However, in late May there were incidents of clashes between the Sudanese Nuer community and members of Turkana’s host community.

In the Lokori area in Turkana, banditry has been frequent and has claimed at least three lives between 17th – 27th April when an unknown number of raiders armed with AK47 rifles attacked a group of Turkana women who had gone to fetch water and firewood, while in a separate incident, around 30 bandits attacked a Public Service Vehicle, setting it ablaze while the passengers escaped unhurt according to G4S April monthly report.

At Kanere News, the unfavorable climate of press freedom in Kakuma has resulted in a few journalists leaving on insecurity cases while a few reporters stepped aside from voluntary contributing to Kanere as they lacked support from the camp authority.

In December 2012, the government passed a negative directive to force urban refugees into camps, which later escalated to a dramatic increase in attacks. In January, the Kenyan High Court ordered the authorities to suspend the refugee relocation plans according to which more than 50,000 refugees and asylum seekers are supposed to leave urban areas of Kenya, but by the middle of May the court had not yet made a ruling on the negative decision.

However, in May, at least 45 refugees traveling to Nairobi were arrested on their way and arraigned at Eldoret court and charged with being illegal migrants, while at least six people died in the April – May floods in Kakuma.

And still the UNHCR Head of Sub-Office continues to receive the influx of new arrivals, the majority being South Sudanese. In the annual event of World Refugee Day, tens and thousands turned out to mark the historic event at Napata grounds in the camp. There are several other interesting stories that constitute this publication.

On our social media, we bring up news and events around the camp and Kakuma town with Kanere reporters in different sections of Kakuma; we bring up debatable issues. Tell us about your experiences, thoughts, let us read the latest and reality reporting on the unfolding happening inside a refugee camp.

Kanere would like to receive contributions from both the host and refugee communities and the NGOs’ staff, as we welcome diversity of culture in these multinational interactions. We truly believe that journalism should be strengthened, but not undermined, looking at the current status of journalism practiced in Kakuma. With no doubts you’ll find the difference between KANERE (a refugee-run) and an NGO-run newsletter!

We’re open to suggestions and debate on refugee affairs. In this true spirit of independent refugee media inside the camp, we will need your support to grow and develop! Share your experiences with us, pitch in news tips and send us feedback on our stories and concerns to, kakuma.news@gmail.com

Anyone can get involved in supporting and towards strengthening development of Kanere. Keep spreading the message in your networks, and you may ‘like’ Kanere on our social media page. I hope you’ll enjoy reading our issues.

Till next edition!



Qaabata Boru

Editorial Executive 

Letter from the Editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on December 28, 2012

To our esteemed readers here and abroad,

On the 22nd of December 2012, KANERE celebrated its 4th year anniversary. On this important occasion, Kanere looks back on different security threats suffered by staffs imposed by camp authority, reporting difficulties and lack of operational funding over years delaying publications for months.

Since KANERE started several camp developments took positive effect. The paper fosters the involvement of civil society in a situation where the camp authorities never wish to allow free flow of information. We therefore inform authorities in refugee protection once again, that the existence of Independent refugee media is necessary to any open and democratic society including refugee camps. The UNHCR and other humanitarian operations, had only to suggest the use of force to suppress reporters due to the politicized camp structure where compromise jeopardizes the safety and protection of true refugee journalists.

In the regional news, a literally named “Little Mogadishu” in Nairobi has experienced several grenade explosions with many lives lost in the month of December alone. This has caused the Kenyan government to call on all refugees to move to camps with immediate effect and threatening to withdraw all aid to refugees living in urban areas. By mid December there have been arbitrary arrests of refugees residing in areas of Eastleigh, Nairobi. Is this an appropriate response to security concerns? Kanere appeals against this move, as it’s discriminatory and a violation of freedom of movement.

In Turkana District several incidents of cattle rustling were reported frequently between Turkana herders and Pokot raiders. To curb the rustling menace government has started a disarmament operation in west Pokot among other districts in the region.

On Wednesday 24th October, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned of Qatar and Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees made a visit to Kakuma. The purpose of the visit was for the Sheikha to familiarize herself with refugee education in this camp in connection with the Educate a Child Initiative which she is launching in collaboration with UNHCR.

On 26th October, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, H.E. Anne Richard, visited Kakuma as part of her mission to Kenya. Refugee leaders were able to make the case that half of the camp residents would need resettlement abroad as a durable solution for protracted displacement.

In this edition numerous accounts of sexual violence have persisted. A Somali woman aged 50 was gang raped and two others suffered similar assault at gunpoint. A defilement story of a schoolgoing refugee child tells the magnitude of prevailing sexual exploitation and abuse committed by guards.  Meanwhile in August, the camp residents staged a protest after continued insecurity where refugees are killed by gunshots. A journalist at Kanere was blocked and threatened for covering the riots.

KANERE welcomes Awet Andemicael, a Doctoral student from Yale University in USA, providing refugees with insight about the importance of artistic events in refugee camps. Her article on the subject teaches that in a warehousing situation where refugees live every day of their life with fear, insecurity, isolation, and boredom, the introduction of artistic events can make a real difference.

For Rwandan refugees the worst morning is awaiting those who are still alive when application of the cessation clause on June 30th, 2013 shall revoke their refugee brand ‘ration cards’ in Kakuma.

Despite the continued challenges, Kanere aims to improve the human rights condition in refugee camps through courageous and independent journalism that adheres to the highest integrity, accuracy and ethical conduct.

Finally, we direct our readers and audience to read our site, ‘like’ our facebook page at this link, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kanere-News/161557433968809, share out and keep lively discussion of what is of value and to be addressed.

We wish you a prosperous Happy New Year 2013,


Qaabata Boru

KANERE editor in chief