Political refugee killed by Kenya police in Kakuma

Halakhe – Ethiopian-Oromo political refugee was killed at this spot in Kakuma camp

By KANERE News Desk - February 11, 2018

Murder of an Ethiopian refugee man remains a mystery 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's refugee papers – 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.

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.



Refugee man shot and wounded

By Okello and Shidad - KANERE - February 11, 2018

A refugee man survived gunshots wounds in a night attack in Kakuma

A Sudanese refugee sustained bodily injuries including gunshots wounds that landed him in the camp hospital. The incident happened in the evening of 14th November 2017 at around 8 o’clock in Kakuma 2 zone 1 block 7 settlement within the camp.

On the night of attack, Peter Ali was at his home when he ran out of the house after hearing the smashing of his entrance door to the plot. “I was preparing to sleep when they arrived, they break the entrance door and demanded for my phone on the spot,” Ali said.

When Ali refused to surrender his phone the three thugs beat him up. “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 states. According to Ali he fought with the armed thugs for about ten minutes without anyone of his neighbors intervening.

Ali could not get his breath while he was being kicked on the ground and trying to escape from the sharp end of an AK47 rifle aimed at him by one of the thugs.

“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.

He stated that while he was lying helplessly on the ground of his compound, the thugs fired two gunshots at him but only one bullet hit him just below his neck, leaving a huge open wound.

Ali at the refugee clinic after sustaining a gunshot wounds in Kakuma

“A bullet barely missed my head but the other shot on my neck and exited on my left shoulder. I was in so much pain,” Ali continued to explain.

It was around 9 o’clock when Ali was taken to the refugee hospital in Camp 3 where he underwent surgical treatment on the holes left by the bullet.

The area local security stated to have alerted the Kenya police and the ambulance upon arriving the scene of the incident. “I couldn’t believe what I saw, there was pool of blood around his (Ali’s) body. I thought he could not survive,” Sharif, the area camp security, told KANERE.

On the 20th November, Ali was discharged from the clinic and was instructed to undergo daily dressing at Clinic 5 – another clinic in the camp.

Ali complained about his treatment at the refugee clinics which he described as poorly equipped with poor skilled nurses and lack of proper medication. “It was a painful process during operation and I was then discharged with only painkiller tabs.”

A few weeks down the line, Ali was complaining about severe pain in the arms, head and neck. “My condition wasn’t stable and there’s swelling around the wounds and constant pain all over my body. In some nights, I cannot sleep due to severe pain, I have no options,” Ali complains.

Ali at the refugee clinic after sustaining a gunshot wounds.

Peter Ali aged 20 arrived in Kakuma in 2013 from Sudan due to the violent political conflict in Sudan. He has lived in the camp with his uncle since then. He completed his secondary education in Kakuma in 2016 but the prospect of furthering his education is grim. The refugee youths who graduate from secondary schools in the camp normally face similar challenges to further their tertiary education. Ali remains optimistic, in his camp where resources are limited and opportunities are unattractive.

In July, a secondary school girl was sexually assaulted by an armed gang, while in October, a Congolese refugee man suffered three gunshot wounds from armed criminals who have been terrorizing the camp residents despite the presence of the camp authority.

This reporting reflects only a very tiny tip of the iceberg of the vast number of cases and of the real happenings in the camps.

Originally published by:

Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

an excellent project that unfortunately died on 31. December 2018.