Calm is slowly returning to the Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab sub-county, Garissa County following the stabbing to death of a refugee by a non-local on Friday last week.
Addressing close to 500 non locals, members of the host community and refugees after a daylong meeting which brought together top security officers and leaders from both sides, Garissa county commissioner Boaz Cherutich urged for calm and the respect of the rule of law from both sides.
“We have managed to talk to both sides and agreed that going forward everyone goes back to their homes and that those who were responsible be apprehended and prosecuted,” Cherutich said.
“Even as we take action, we want to warn a few refugees who are breaking the law that action will be taken against them. We have laws which they must respect,” he added.
The county commissioner disclosed that the suspect behind the killing had already been arraigned in court, while emphasizing on the need to let the rule of law take its course.
It all started on Friday afternoon last week when the deceased engaged in an argument with the owner of a shop over the price of a knife he wanted to buy.
It is further alleged the deceased decided to run away with the knife without paying, something that infuriated the owner of the shop who gave chase.
He caught up with victim where a scuffle ensured. It was during the brief fight that the deceased was stabbed in the neck with the same knife killing him instantly.
The news of the incident spread quickly and refugees from different blocks converged at the scene, where they started chasing and attacking all non-locals residing next to the camp.
Several people were injured and are nursing injuries with one admitted at the Kenyatta national hospital. Their businesses were not spared either as their wares were looted.
The non-locals fearing for their lives sought refuge at the Hagadera police station.
Cherutich further directed the security apparatus in the area to work closely with the local leadership including blocks in ensuring that normalcy fully returns in the area.
The county commissioner said that those who lost property during the skirmishes will receive non-food items from the Kenya Red Cross adding that the government will also chip in and assist them.
Victims who spoke to the press among them Sarah Dancan urged the government to move with speed and apprehend those who were behind the looting saying that they had been left to count losses not knowing where to start.
“It is unfortunate that some individuals took advantage of the whole situation to loot our shops. We don’t know where to start because everything was stolen. The government should come to our aid,” she said.
On his part, a resident Mwangi Macharia urged the security apparatus to keep a round the clock security check saying that even though they were returning to their homes they still feared for their lives.
By Jacob Songok