The UNHCR Kakuma Sub-Office has today dismissed reports of deaths in Wednesday’s unrest that erupted from demonstrations over cases of insecurity within the refugee camp.
During a meeting between representatives of the Somali refugee and host Turkana communities, Camp Manager Kasili Mitambo clarified that during the incident the refugee groups and local community did not clash and reports of deaths that were circulated on social media were greatly exaggerated.
During the talks attended by County Secretary Peter Eripete representing Governor Josphat Nanok, local leaders led by area MP Epuyo Nanok and heads of security agencies of Turkana West sub-county, both communities denied that there was a conflict between them and insisted that isolated cases of armed robbery were to blame for interruption of the peaceful coexistence.
CS Eripete said two communities have lived as brothers and sisters for long and needed to sit and talk to amicably solve conflicts that arise for peaceful coexistence.
He said the conflicts if not managed ran the danger of interrupting implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISEDP) which has been hailed as a global model for integration of refugee and host community. The CS advised the local community to channel existing grievances to rightful authorities and cautioned that escalation of disagreement painted a poor picture of integration efforts.
Area MP Epuyo Nanok urged the communities not to blow challenges that arise out of proportion and called for strengthening of existing conflict resolution mechanism between them.
Senator Prof. Malachy Ekal said the Somali and Turkana as pastoral communities had lived together peacefully since the setting up of the camp and some had even inter-married. He wondered why it had become difficult for slight disagreements to be resolved despite years of friendship.
Deputy County Commissioner Mohamed Dara commended the two communities for taking steps to build cohesion after the incident. The meeting agreed to hold meetings for community representatives on Monday to pass resolution and further foster peaceful coexistence.
Also present was County Public Service and Disaster Management Executive Esther Lokwei and Turkana West Sub-County Administrator Esther Kiyonga.
MCAs in the meeting included James Ekaran (Kakuma), Bethwel Lochor (Song’ot), Joseph Nyang’a (Kalobeyei), Evans Ekai (Lopur), Epuu Elim (Letea), Cosmas Long’or (Nanam) and Nicholas Ewoi (Nakalale).
Head of Kakuma UNHCR Sub Office Sukru Cansizoglu was also in attendance.