Kenya + 1 more

Kenya-Rwanda: UNHCR condemns killing of Rwandan refugee children

NAIROBI, 19 April (IRIN) - The UN refugee agency has condemned the killing on Thursday of two Rwandan children at a refugee centre in Nairobi, saying it would provide "all necessary" support for investigations being carried out by the Kenyan authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Daily Nation newspaper reported on Friday that two children had been killed and their mother seriously injured in a fight at a refugee centre in the Kenyan capital. The woman, who was bleeding from stab wounds all over her body, is reported to be fighting for her life at a Nairobi hospital.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Friday that it had taken "various steps", together with the Kenyan police, to enhance the safety of refugees at the centre where the attack took place, and elsewhere in Nairobi, to prevent such incidents in the future.

"The branch [UNHCR Nairobi office] abhors this dastardly and barbaric act, particularly as innocent children were targeted," the agency said in the statement.

Emanuel Nyabera, public information officer for UNHCR Kenya, told IRIN that the injured woman was being accommodated in the centre involved while the agency was processing her resettlement.

"Definitely, we know about the case. We have her file. The woman was in the process of being resettled in Australia," Nyabera said, adding that he could not divulge any more information for fear of jeopardising the ongoing police investigation.

The refugee centre is a UNHCR project implemented by the Irish aid organisation GOAL to cater for refugees with special needs, according to Nyabera.

The UN refugee agency normally refers to the centre those refugees in need of protection while their papers are being processed to be transferred to camps or for resettlement in third countries, he said.

The bodies of the two children, aged six and four years, were removed by police from the centre, a "closely guarded" block of flats housing more than 100 refugees, mainly from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, and taken to the Nairobi mortuary, according to the Daily Nation.

Solomon Makau, a spokesman at Kilimani Police Station, situated near the refugee centre, said the police had yet to establish the motive for the attack.

"The only information we have at the moment is that the two Rwandan children were killed in the clash in the centre, which left their mother bleeding after being stabbed a number of times all over her body," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Makau told IRIN on Friday that the case had been referred to the Criminal Investigations Department to determine the circumstances in which the incident had taken place. The Nairobi District Criminal Investigating Office, which is reportedly handling the case, was unavailable for comment.

An official at the GOAL office in Nairobi told IRIN on friday she could not make any comment yet. "At this stage, we have no information because it is still under investigation," she said.

Nyabera said UNHCR had, on Friday morning, held meetings with the refugees at the centre to allay fears for their safety, following the 4am (local time) incident on Thursday.

[ENDS]

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