Suspect detained by police in connection with fatalities of refugees; authorities seize AK-47 firearm

Suspect Detained By Police In Connection With Fatalities Of Refugees; Authorities Seize Ak-47 Firearm

Written by Bakari Ang’ela
on Monday, September 11, 2023

Authorities in Turkana County have apprehended a woman and seized an assault rifle as part of an operation targeting a gang that has been terrorizing refugees and locals in the Kakuma area.

Last month, an ambiguous attack in the Turkana West region resulted in the deaths of six immigrants and the injury of at least seven others at the Kakuma Refugee camp. Additionally, both refugees and locals faced brutalization during these violent incidents.

Over the weekend, a team consisting of police officers from the Director of Criminal Investigations and led by Turkana West Deputy County Commissioner Chaunga Machunga, successfully arrested Emuria Lotira, a 48-year-old suspect. In the process, they also seized an AK47 rifle and three rounds of ammunition.

The latest fatality occurred on August 31, resulting in the death of Burundian refugee Claude Nkunzimana. The operation was initiated due to a series of robbery attacks, according to Turkana West DCIO Charles Murthy.

The suspect is currently under investigation at the Kakuma Police Station.

According to a police report, officers from the Kakuma police station, jointly with a multi-agency team, conducted a night patrol in Lopedekit village, located in Kakuma. They subsequently cordoned the area and performed a search, leading to the arrest of Lotira after being granted permission to search her house.

“The suspect is providing investigators with valuable information. As soon as our investigation is complete, she will be brought before the court. We want to assure refugees and locals that we are actively pursuing other criminals as well,” the police report stated.

Refugees, UNHCR officials, and local authorities have expressed alarm at the recent series of killings in Kalobeyei, an area predominantly occupied by refugees. Mohammed Abdullah, a refugee, stated that it is concerning that the perpetrators behind the shootings have not yet been apprehended or prosecuted, despite the deaths of eight refugees in separate attacks within a month.

“We believe that a series of more than seven killings within weeks is a matter that demands a thorough investigation,” Abdullah emphasized.

Sammy Koech, the Kakuma Refugee Camp Manager, highlighted the fact that these six killings occurred despite the presence of 11 police posts in and around the settlement.

Mr. Machunga issued an order to the sub-county commander of Turkana West to address all security loopholes and prevent further attacks targeting refugees and the local community.

List of victims from the Kakuma refugee camp attacks:

1- Emmanuel Ndereyimana
Attack date: July 30, 2023

Nationality: Burundian

2- Abdi Hussein Mohammed
Attack date: August 4, 2023

Nationality: Somali

3- Francis Laduu Abraham
Attack date: August 29, 2023

Nationality: South Sudanese

4- Kasereka Fatuma
Attack date: August 20, 2023

Nationality: Ugandan (Survived the attack but lost Sh3,000 and a smartphone)

5- Opiyo Napeyok
Attack date: August 24, 2023

Nationality: South Sudanese (Survived a nocturnal attack after refusing to open the door)

6- Mohammed Hassan
Attack date: August 4, 2023

Nationality: Somali

7- Mohamed Ali
Attack date: August 4, 2023

Nationality: Somali

8- Nkunzimana Claude
Attack date: August 31, 2023

Nationality: Burundian