Calm returns to Dadaab after one person dies and properties destroyed in chaos

Boaz Cherutich

Garissa County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich on November 8, 2022. He warned refugees at Hagdera Refugee Camp against engaging in lawlessness after skirmishes erupted at the camp over the weekend.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

Normalcy is slowly returning to Hagdera Refugee Camp in Dadaab, Garissa County after a man was stabbed to death leading to skirmishes and destruction of property.

The camp witnessed lawlessness on Friday after a man was stabbed by a shopkeeper after they disagreed over the price of a kitchen knife.

The buyer, a local, decided to walk away with the knife without paying, prompting the seller (a non- local) to give chase, snatched the knife and stabbed the man, leaving him for the dead.

The deceased was stabbed in the neck, dying instantly.

The incident attracted hundreds of refugees from different blocks at the camp leading to more skirmishes.

The locals turned against the non-locals, generating into full-fledged fighting that saw the non-locals seek refuge at the nearest police station.

A number of people were injured and are still nursing injuries at local health facilities.

One person with life threatening injuries was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital for advanced medication.

Several shops and warehouses were looted during the Friday afternoon incident.

Garissa County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich warned that the government will not entertain lawlessness by any individual or a group.

Sit back

“The national government will not accept lawlessness and we are warning the few who participated in the incident that we will not sit back and overlook it. The law is clear that anybody is free to live anywhere in this country and run any legal business,” he said.

Mr Cherutich urged all those who took refuge at Hagdera Police Station to return to their homes and continue with their daily activities.

“The county police commander will make proper arrangements to ensure security operations are carried out so that everyone feels secure,” he said.

The county security committee chairman said all the security stakeholders had been engaged and agreed on a secure and peaceful coexistence.

“The host community and block leaders have assured us that there will be peace and security after what happened,” he said.

He urged those who have lost their property to report to the police for action.

“Even as we urge you to return to your homes. I am warning the few refugees who are breaking the law that action will be taken against them. We have laws which must be respected,” he said.

He added: “The refugees being hosted in Kenya must understand and respect laws of our land. Whoever committed the crime that led to all this has since been apprehended and charged”.

He directed the Dadaab Deputy County Commissioner to be meeting the area peace committee on a daily basis to cultivate harmonious interaction at the refugee camp.

Illegal businesses

Mr Cherutich ordered a crackdown on all illegal businesses including chang’aa dens, drug peddlers and those dealing in contrabands.

All the affected residents are being supported by the Kenya Red Cross Society in rebuilding their lives.

“We have non-food items coming from the Kenya Red Cross Society and the national government will be sending in more support for those affected,” Mr Cherutich said.

Ms Sarah Duncun, a victim, urged the national government to move with speed, arrest and charge the looters.

“It is unfortunate that some individuals took advantage of the whole situation to loot our shops. I don’t know where to start because I lost everything from my shop,” she said.

Ms Winfred Kerubo said she lost all her clothes during the fracas.

“I was beaten up by a man I know. I sustained back injuries. I lost everything in my house. I don’t even have clothes to change,” she said.

Mr Kevin Arnold said all non-locals ran into the police station on Friday and it was the police who saved them from locals who were baying for their blood.

“It was shocking that they turned against everyone and yet the crime had been committed by an individual. No religion allows this kind of behaviour,” he said.

Mr Richard Kamwiko said he lost a stock of Sh700,000 that had just arrived at his shop from Nairobi.

“I lost my new stock of Sh700,000 at my shop. I was only left with the keys to my shop. They went away with the padlock,” he said.

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