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Eight Killed in Fighting at Kakuma Refugee Camp - UNHCR

Sudanese children play with a broken playground chair in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. (File Photo)

Eight people were killed in Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya at the weekend after a clash between refugees from South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency said Monday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) spokesman in Kenya, Emmanuel Nyabera, said the deadly fighting began when a South Sudanese motorcycle taxi driver knocked down a child from the Great Lakes region.

"One of the communities thought it was intentional. Our feeling was that it was just an accident," Nyabera told South Sudan in Focus.

"By this morning, eight refugees have lost their lives," he said.

The violence is the latest at the sprawling refugee camp, he said.

Nyabera said more violence was triggered last week between the two main ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer, after the alleged rape in the camp of a 10-year-old girl. At least one person was killed in those clashes, he said.

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

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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