Africa

Ethnic tensions reportedly forces thousands to flee Kenyan refugee camp

(Supplied)

There are reports refugees have been forced to flee a refugee camp over safety concerns as tensions between different ethnic groups simmer.

At least eight people have died in unrest over the past week at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

The violence, which killed refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan, has reportedly forced thousands of refugees to flee the camp.

A Congolese man who has fled from the camp but did not want to be identified, says the violence forced around 7,000 Congolese and 3,500 Barrundian refugees to flee the camp for their own safety.

The man told Gode Migerano from SBS Radio's Swahili program that the group remain stranded outside the camp with limited access to food and water.

"Water we are buying, food also we are buying. Money. If you have some you can go and buy. If you don't have, you starve."

The man said the group were too frightened to return to the camp but at this stage, had no where else to go.

"Some people, they are going back to check if the situation is calmer there," he said.

"When they got there, they all found the same people within their houses, and, up till now, when you go there, still people they are beating people. That's why we are telling them there is no security there."

"We are telling them, 'Let us go together with the police, with everybody, at night and see those people there.'"

Kakuma is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, providing shelter to 180,000 refugees from more than 20 countries.

It's believed fighting broke out out among different ethnic groups after the attempted rape of a refugee child.

UNHCR said authorities managed to gain control of the situation, but two more violent outbreaks occured over the week.

The deaths of refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan highlight ethnic tensions in the overcrowded camp.

Following the violence, the UNHCR expressed concern about security in the overcrowded camp, calling for a return to calm for all the communities living there.

“Together with the Kenyan authorities, we are continuing to work with the refugees to restore calm, and appealing for calm and peaceful coexistence among all communities in the camp,” UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards told reporters earlier this week.

In collaboration with Gode Migerano from SBS Radio's Swahili program. Click here to listen to the full report in Swahili.

Source World News Australia

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