Call for calm after violence leaves eight dead at Kenya refugee camps

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A child carries another on her back at a Nairobi camp for the internally displaced. © Julius Mwelu/IRIN

Security has been stepped up at refugee camps in Kakuma in north-west Kenya following the death of eight refugees over the past week, from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), says that disturbances began last Tuesday after reports of the attempted rape of a refugee girl, which sparked violence among rival groups of South Sudanese youths.

Further violence erupted at the weekend. Yesterday, four more refugees were killed.

Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for UNHCR, says that most of the violence has taken place at the Kakuma 4 camp.

He says that agencies involved in the camps are desperately trying to bring the conflict to an end:

"Together with the Kenyan authorities, we are continuing to work with the refugees to restore calm, and appealing for calm and peaceful coexistence among all communities in the camp. Kakuma is a melting pot with close to 180,000 refugees from more than 20 countries living in four sectors. The biggest population is from South Sudan, others, also large, from Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo."  (47″)

UNHCR says that there's now a stronger police presence at the camps and several arrests have been made.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration:  1’23″

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