Kenya-Djibouti refugee camp killings cause alarm

By ENInews
January 5, 2012

After the killing of a volunteer refugee peace and security worker and the wounding of another, a Christian relief agency which is responsible for housing and security at the Dadaab refugee complex in northern Kenya, said safety measures were being reviewed.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) made the announcement after Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed, chairperson of community peace and security teams (CPST) for the Hagadera camp, was shot dead near his house on 29 December 2011. The other volunteer was shot and wounded on 1 January 2012 at the Ifo camp.

"The LWF remains committed to its ongoing work in Dadaab ... The LWF will take the necessary measures needed to keep both refugees and all staff safe and secure in the camps, including support to the CPST," the Rev Eberhard Hitzler, director of the Department for World Service, the LWF's relief and development arm, said in a news release on 2 January.

Incidents of grenades being thrown at the police and into churches, and improvised explosive devices found planted on roads at the camp have been reported in the last two months. With the developments, some aid workers at the world's largest refugee complex said they were increasingly feeling insecure.

"The police were the first targets. The refugees are the latest to be attacked. We don't know if the next targets will be national and international aid workers," Moses Mukhwana, LWF Dadaab project coordinator told ENInews on 3 January.

Even with the escalating insecurity, Christian relief agencies have continued to maintain a presence at the complex, which has nearly 500,000 residents of Somali origin who have fled famine and war in their country.

The CPST teams patrol the camps and are called to solve problems ranging from queue jumping to attempted rape, according to Lennart Hernander, LWF's representative for the Kenya-Djibouti programme.

[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]


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