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Kenya Crisis - Thousands Flee To Uganda

In Kenya, post-election violence has left more than 600 people dead, including at least 28 in the last four days.

Five people died in the rift valley on Saturday, when a group of armed ethnic Kalenjin, who generally support the opposition, attacked displaced people from the Kikuyu tribe, which backs Mr. Kibaki. Over 2000 Kenyans have fled to neighboring Uganda where they are officially registered as refugees.

Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka is the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of the Ugandan border district of Tororo. He told VOA English to Africa reporter, Douglas Mpuga, that the number of Kenyans that have fled to Uganda could be much higher as many have not registered with his office since, they are either able to pay for their upkeep, or are living with relatives across the border.

Hashaka described the situation as calm but added “there is some tension because of the upheavals and insecurity on the side of Kenya where they are still tribal clashes. But on our side we have tried to maintain the security and I think we are doing well.”

“On the side of Tororo district, in Malaba, we officially have over 2000 refugees who are registered under my office, together with the Uganda Red Cross Society, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Then we have those Kenyans who are not officially registered and are living in hotels, and others living in the communities around the border; they could also be around 2000,” he said.

He said most of the refugees are of the Kikuyu ethnic group, mostly women and children, and the elderly.

“Initially, we had a problem feeding them, but we have since opened up a center at St Jude Primary School – about 2 kilometers from the border town of Malaba - and we are able to feed them,” he said.

The RDC explained that the Uganda government is providing the food, while the Uganda Red Cross has provided some non-food items, such as basins, plates, and mosquito nets.

He said the Uganda government will receive all the refugees that cross the border and the present camp will be expanded. “We have gotten some land in Mulanda sub-county, about 30 kilometers away from the border town of Malaba. We are going to relocate them (refugees) there, and also take in the other refugees that are currently in Busia town and Manafa district at the Rwakaka border crossing point.