Uwinam sits with her children under a bridge along Waiyaki way to shield from rain yesterday. photo/PATRICK VIDIJA
Uwinam sits with her children under a bridge along Waiyaki way to shield from rain yesterday. photo/PATRICK VIDIJA

Refugee awaits aid from under highway bridge

By PATRICK VIDIJA @vidijapatrick - TS -

A family of nine has been camping outside the UN headquarters for weeks trying to seek help.

The family, which has been in Kakuma Refugee Camp since 2011, arrived in Nairobi two weeks ago amid efforts to find help at the UN headquarters. In an interview with the Star, Uwinam, a mother of seven, said they arrived at Kakuma after undergoing hardship in their home country of Burundi.

A document from the Kenya National Police Service Directorate of Criminal Investigations shows Uwinam, her husband Habiyambere Hakizamana and nine children arrived at Kakuma in 2011. The letter says the family escaped the fighting which broke out after the 2010 General Election. Uwinam said Hakizamana, who was not with the family at the time of the interview, had received threatening messages when he stopped working for one of the political parties in which he served as a secretary general.

She said life at the camp is hard. Women are raped and men are beaten.

The letter, signed by Turkana West DCI Johnson Mutua, shows the family has on several occasions been assaulted and robbed. The incidents were reported to Kakuma police station. “The UN has received us well, they have promised to help us but insist they have to trace documents from Kakuma,” Uwinam said. Until then they continue to live under the bridge.

N.B.: There is a stiff resistance by the Government of Kenya and UNHCR against refugees seeking protection in Nairobi. Bureaucratic excuses are the daily norm to frustrate refugees. Wellwishers trying to help these stranded refugees under the Wayaki Way flyover are harassed by police and G4S guards from UNHCR like the refugees themselves.