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One Killed as South Sudanese Clash at Kenyan Refugee Camp


South Sudanese refugees arrive at Kakuma refugee camp in January 2013. Violence erupted at the camp between rival South Sudanese groups. (Courtesy: FilmAid)

One person was killed and several were wounded at the weekend when members of two South Sudanese communities clashed in Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, a U.N. refugee agency official said.

The fighting pitted members of the two biggest ethnic groups in South Sudan, the Dinka and the Nuer, against each other, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Emmanuel Nyabera told South Sudan in Focus.

The clashes were triggered by the "alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl from one of the communities," Nyabera said.

Kenyan police intervened and calm was restored in the sprawling camp in Turkana county, Nyabera said.

Kakuma has taken in some 38,000 new refugees since December last year, when South Sudan erupted in violence, he said. The UNHCR says on its website that the vast majority of people streaming into the camp are from South Sudan.

Nyabera said the UNHCR is working closely with South Sudanese community leaders at Kakuma refugee camp "to make people know that they have to live together in a good manner, in a peaceful manner and support each other," especially when they are living in such difficult circumstances.

Kenya is home to more than half a million refugees, around a quarter of whom are packed into Kakuma.

The UNHCR says Kakuma is overcrowded and "additional land is urgently needed. UNHCR's top priorities in the camp are to respond to protection needs, and to provide adequate infrastructure and basic services for a growing population."

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
     
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
     
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon

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