Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

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

Quotes of the months for August, November – December Edition 2017

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on February 11, 2018

“The police are supposed to solve land conflicts and refer the case for resolution. However, if the police see money in the conflict, they take bribes from both parties. The winner is often the one who paid more,”

– says a refugee with experience in shelter disputes/ “Kenya’s black market in “refugee real estate”

“I counted ten bullets holes in his body, two on the neck,” a close relative of Saladhin told KANERE,”

– a close relative of Saladhin told KANERE/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“I am in fear for my life, and I am not sure what to do with my business,”

– Farhan told the KANERE journalist at his shop in November/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“I was trying to resist and I got one of them down but when the other hit my head with a sharp machete, I fell down,”

               – Ali told KANERE/ “Refugee man shot and wounded”

“I heard him crying and asking for mercy for more than ten minutes, then gun rumbles followed,”

–  an anonymous witness told KANERE/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“As a single mother, i needed more than the food supplied by the UN. So, i came up with this plan of baking and selling biscuits,”

                   – explains Axlam, a Somali woman living in Kakuma/ “Kenya’s black market in “refugee real estate”

“Land allocation is a big factor but we’re determined to see peaceful co-existence between the refugees and local community,”

– claimed Governor Nanok speaking at a previous World Refugee Day event/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“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/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“I was beaten in the market by local women (Turkanas) for a reason not known to me,”

               – Felicia, a business woman in Kalobeyei told KANERE/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“I was on the ground, then the trio move backwards and one of them fired the gun at me. That was all I could remember,”

               – Ali told KANERE in an interview/ “Refugee man shot and wounded”

Letter from the editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on July 23, 2012

Dear KANERE readers here and abroad,

First and foremost, I want to thank you for your loyalty to both exile journalists in KANERE and our supporters who find our work meaningful out of Kakuma refugee camp.

The past four months were generally calm inside the camp though a few cases of insecurity incidents have been reported in parts of the settlement. However, life was marked by different phenomena like natural calamities. The heavy downpour between the months of March to May caused flooding that resulted in five refugees and two members of the host community being drowned. March to June received plenty of rain, it was mild, and it was cold, warm and flooding. That is all about the weather.

In this edition: The influx of new arrivals to Kakuma following the communal conflicts, bombings and border violence for Sudanese. For Somalis violent conflicts, suicide attacks and inhuman crimes committed by Al-Shabaab insurgents are still forcing thousands of children and women into the 20 year old camp of Dadaab which now holds the shameful name of being the biggest refugee camp in the world. Dadaab Camp explosions and kidnappings are continuing and have paralyzed the humanitarian life saving operation in that camp which holds an estimated population of 500,000 refugees by mid July. In Turkana County the host communities saw a new dawn of hope after oil was discovered in the region. Several other stories constituted our publication. Yet again thousands of the camp residents turned up to commemorate the World Refugee Day in Kakuma camp this year.

KANERE has been running on a voluntary basis and amicable funding for the continuation of a refugee voice out of Kakuma has been stonewalled. As you can imagine, volunteers are working without payment. However, we feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to continue publishing for our audience – a role represented by the reporting project. We all try to do the best we can with no resources. As this situation is critical for the paper, we appeal to those who better understand KANERE to take a step forward in support of the refugee voice.

I’m happy to say that we appreciate the legal back up from press freedom and defenders’ groups. We seek potential supporters who will always stand with us, and should continue to be authentic in times ahead.

We direct and advise our audience and readers at internship to visit our archives online to find past and current editions of KANERE. And we remain as ever focused on balanced, independent and quality reporting.

I welcome any and all suggestions, critical questions or criticisms in relation to KANERE’s work. We also invite news tips from camp residents, members of the host community, humanitarian officials and our readers from abroad.

Thank you very much for reading,


KANERE editor in chief

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World Journalists meet at CPJ International Conference

Posted in Human Rights, News Updates by KANERE on April 16, 2012

A KANERE senior writer attended an international conference hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Rory Peck Trust in Nairobi last December.

The representatives of media organizations meet during this occasion to streamline new strategies for East African journalists in exile. The international community came together to try to help exiled journalists by looking into means of developing networking and building mechanisms which could help exiled journalists in the region.

Participants included the Committee to Protect Journalists in association with the Rory Peck Trust, media legal defense representatives, the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, regional East African and international human rights and free press advocates, defenders organizations, and the Refugee Free Press. The Conference was held at the Fairview Hotel from 11th – 14th Dec. 2011. The Fairview Hotel is considered to be among the best hotels in Nairobi regarding security.

There were four full days of discussions regarding assistance for East African journalists in exile. A KANERE official took part in the one-hour panel: “Sustainable Initiatives beyond Assistance.” Panelists discussed initiatives to empower exiled journalist. This panel engendered lively debate. The community of East African exiled journalist has identified different issues affecting the daily lives of journalists in exile, including: unproductive job opportunities while in exile; legal protection insecurity; and limited opportunities for sustainable livelihood. As refugees, exiled journalists in UNHCR camps are among the most affected. One Ethiopian exiled journalist at KANERE shared his experience and suffering. Elias Lemma was forced out of Ethiopia after exposing government secret scandals in the Maebel newspaper where he was Chief Editor in 2002.

Mr. Lemma worked at the Maebel, Andenet and Fikirsewa newspapers, which are based in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. He lived in a suburb of Nairobi for about five years with more than a dozen other exiled journalists from Ethiopia who have fled due to death threats.  In 2007, he applied for durable solution to the Kenya Branch Office of UNHCR following attacks on Ethiopian journalists under UNHCR protection in Nairobi on September 6, 2006. UNHCR has not made any progress in his case even after he moved to Kakuma after several security problems in Nairobi. “Exile is a different world. We’re merely alive and only better than death. We are not living normal life,” said Lemma who is now 38 and the oldest exiled journalist in KANERE.

The aim of the conference was to find sustainable and cohesive solutions to the problems E. African journalists and freelancers in exile face. Exiled journalists are suffering with any right to livelihood in the region. Exiled journalists in refugee camps are in even more vulnerable situations compared to their colleagues in urban settings. It is not easy to secure job opportunities. In UNHCR refugee camps, it is a humanitarian cliché that “however a refugee is educated, whatever his/her professional background, h/she must be a member of the ‘incentive’ wage-earning class not to be contracted for salaries.”

Many exiled journalists fear insecurity, disappearances and even death while under the protection UNHCR. It is important for global journalists and diaspora media outlets to be involved in advocating and lobbying with local authorities for proper protection for journalists and for their freedom of expression according to ethical codes and principles.

Since its launch, members of the KANERE staff have been physically attacked several times and had equipment destroyed and their homes in the camp damaged. Reporters without Borders wrote to the UNHCR officials in charge of the Kakuma Camp in June 2010 asking them to provide better protection for KANERE members. As the harassment has continued, Reporters without Borders wrote a second letter to UNHCR in the mid of June 2011.

Death threats have driven many journalists into exile. And a large number of journalists have been forced to narrowly escape death from East and Horn of African. For instance, governments like that of Ethiopia have anti-terrorism laws that allow them to censure both national and international journalists like the two Swedish journalist who were recently sentenced to 11 year in prison under the terrorism law in that country.

Free press groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders often report widespread violations of Ethiopian journalists. To read more about the conference and CPJ’s work, please click on the following URL link:  http://www.cpj.org/blog/2011/12/in-nairobi-plans-to-improve-aid-to-exiled-journali.php#more

Community Talking Point May-June 2009

Posted in Community and Culture by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

The Impact of not Having Network at the Cyber Cafe in the Camp.