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UN resumes work in Kenyan refugee camp

UN resumes work in Kenyan refugee camp as fighting ceases

Fighting has ceased between local residents and Sudanese refugees in northwestern Kenya after leaders from the warring parties agreed to help stop hostilities, paving the way for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resume its aid work today.

Eleven people died during fighting at the Kakuma camp, home to more than 86,000 people, of whom about 65,000 are from Sudan. UNHCR said violence erupted last Wednesday in a dispute over cattle. Both communities keep cattle, and local Turkana cattle owners were outraged when a missing cow was found in the homestead of one of the Sudanese refugees in the camp.

There have been no further reports of fighting since yesterday afternoon, when Turkana elders and refugee leaders met with UNHCR and government officials to resolve the conflict.

As calm returned to Kakuma, UNHCR and its partners today began distributing food and firewood to some 30,000 people displaced from the violence-hit camps. Nearly 8,000 people among the displaced refugees are still encamped in public areas such as schools and churches. Others have joined friends at safer parts of the camp.

UNHCR staff, who returned to the camp with police escort, pumped water for refugees. The agency is also working with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food for those whose supplies were looted.

Mobile clinics have been established in the camp to care for the sick, after the clashes paralysed medical facilities in out-patient clinics in the camp and at the Kakuma camp hospital. With the help of the police force and the paramilitary General Services Unit deployed to the tense camp, UNHCR expects to aid the return of medical staff to the hospital, which also provides out-patient care.


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