Blood of an innocent boy

By Kiiza Mohamed Minani
Kukama refugee camp

Blood of an innocent boy 

It all happened at night. In Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, when everyone was asleep. In 2009, I witnessed  the most terrifying night of my life.I felt like my heart was popping out of my chest. I barely couldn’t move because my body froze. I wasn’t even able to whisper a word to my brother who was lying next to me. My body was shaking and sweating at the same time. It was around 10pm (EAT) when everyone in the community was  asleep. During those days, the community was so quiet, because we didn’t have televisions, radios or computers. This was because we lacked electric power. The camp was as dark as a grave. We were still using the paraffin lamps and candles to light our  houses. Here in the camp it’s  a semi desert. It’s  hard to tell whether it’s  winter or summer because we barely receive rainfall here. All we experience is too high temperatures and dust. Water is provided by UNHCR. Taps are built in the camps to provide clean water. Most of the families could not afford a paraffin lamp, therefore they used to buy candles. In a day, they can use 3 candles. They only put them on when eating supper and making their beds before sleeping. They normally cook supper before the night enters.


2009 was one of the years that our community was not safe. I have been in the camp for 15 years now and this is the only year I heard gunshots fired by robbers in our area. Robbers used to come and rob but not using guns. They used to come with knives to threaten but not guns. This has changed because more police patrols have been placed to maintain security in the camp. Robbers and thieves would invade the community any time and steal whatever they would find. They mostly stole ration(the food given by WFP), jerrycans, utensils and clothes too. The safety of the houses in the camp is not good because our houses are poorly fenced. The houses are also not enough to maintain all the utensils, food, and jerrycans . Therefore, those things are kept outside, thus it’s easy for them to be stolen. That night I fell asleep. My mother woke us up. We woke up and I heard people shouting and crying. The homestead was not far away from our house. The loudest voice was, “where is the money.” They had broken into the house of a certain man called Salim. He was a businessman. He had a hotel in the market. They broke into Salim’s house to steal his money. Salim had a wife and 5 children; 3 boys and 2 girls. The robbers were armed with guns. They were 3 in number. 


The robbers made the whole family kneel down. Then asked Salim about the money. Salim said , “I have no money.” They used the back of the gun to hit him on the ribs. They asked him again and he still gave the same answer. After the police left, we woke up and went to check out and help Kadogo. That’s where Salim told us everything that happened. This time around they cocked the gun and pointed it at his head. The children and the wife were so terrified. The wife stood up and went inside the room and brought money and gave it to the robbers. The robbers were happy because they got what they came for and left their house after slapping Salim and his family. The entire community was panicking in their houses. 


The whole community was silent. As soon as they left the community, Salim and his family started shouting in their mother tongue. “Help, help, we are being intruded. They have guns and we really need your help. Please help us. Help! Help!” The whole community gained courage and started shouting. When the robbers realized that the community were making a lot of noise and this could attract the attention of the police, they had to fire a bullet. Everyone was quiet  and panicked. When they fired the bullet, it accidentally went through Kadogo’s stomach. A young boy of 9 years old. It penetrated through their house and hit him where he was standing. When the robbers left, we came out and went to see Kadogo. He lost a lot of blood. The intestines were almost coming out of the stomach. We were all shocked. His mother and sisters were crying. The ambulance was called and Kadogo was rushed to the hospital. We escaped war in our home country and came to seek refuge here in Kakuma refugee camp. Are we really safe here ?Just imagine Kadogo almost losing his life without a crime. We called the police but they didn’t come in time. The robbers had already left. This has been the habit of the police till now, they always interfere after the incident has happened. The blood of an innocent boy getting spilt. I really never felt safe from that night.

27 December, 2022