Police arrest suspect in refugees’ deaths, recover an AK-47 rifle

Police in Turkana County have arrested a woman and recovered an assault rifle in an operation to unmask a gang that has unleashed terror on refugees and locals at Kakuma.

Last month, six immigrants were shot dead and at least seven others wounded under unclear circumstances at the Kakuma Refugee camp, in Turkana West.

Locals and some refugees were brutalised during the attacks.

On Saturday, police officers led by Turkana West Deputy County Commissioner Chaunga Machunga and a team from the Director of Criminal Investigations arrested Emuria Lotira, 48, and recovered an AK47 rifle and three rounds of ammunition.

The last of the startling killings happened on August 31, leading to the death of Burundian refugee Claude Nkunzimana. Turkana West DCIO Charles Murthy said the operation was informed by a series of robbery attacks.

He said the suspect is being probed at Kakuma Police Station.

“Officers drawn from Kakuma police station under the command of a multi-agency team proceeded on a night patrol within Lopedekit village in Kakuma location, cordoned the place and conducted a search within the village where Lotira was arrested after she was authorised to open her house,” a police report said.

“The suspect is helping investigators with information. She will be arraigned in court as soon as we conclude investigations. We assure refugees and locals that we are pursuing other criminals.”

Refugees, officials attached to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and authorities had last week described the spate of killings in Kalobeyei, an area predominantly occupied by refugees as alarming.

Mohammed Abdullah, a refugee said it was puzzling that the culprits of the shootings have not been arrested and prosecuted despite killing eight refugees in separate attacks within a month.

“We feel that a series of more than seven killings within weeks is a matter that has to be thoroughly investigated,” he said.

Kakuma Refugee Camp Manager Sammy Koech said the six killings have happened despite 11 police posts in and around the settlement.

Mr Machunga said the sub-county commander of Turkana West had been ordered to seal all security lapses in attacks targeting refugees and the local community.

Kakuma refugee attack victims:

1- Emmanuel Ndereyimana
Attack date: 30/7/2023

Nationality: Burundian

2- Abdi Hussein Mohammed
Attack date: 4/8/2023

Nationality: Somali

3- Francis Laduu Abraham
Attack date: 39/8/2023

Nationality: South Sudanese

4- Kasereka Fatuma
Attack date: 20/8/2023

Nationality: Ugandan (She survived the attack but lost Sh3,000 and smart phone)

5- Opiyo Napeyok
Attack date: 24/8/2023

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

6- Mohammed Hassan
Attack date:  4/8/2023

Nationality: Somali

7- Mohamed Ali
Attack date: 4/8/2023

Nationality: Somali

8- Nkunzimana Claude
Attack date: 31/8/2023

Nationality: Burundian

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