Author: UNHCR's Duke Mwancha on Tamuka News www.tamuka.org
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of Kosprins Lyrical Wax
– Philemon Bintu Rudaga, a Congolese refugee is worried about his four children, whom he was separated from when relocated by the authorities from Nairobi to Dadaab refugee camp on 8 May. Philemon, his wife and their 18 year old daughter are now staying at a transit center in the Dagahaley camp of Dadaab.
Philemon is one of approximately 160 Congolese refugees who were arrested on 4 May by the police in an swoop while worshiping at the Antioch Church in Kasarani, Nairobi. Four days later, Philemon and some 200 other refugees were relocated to the Dadaab camp. Since that day, he has been longing for an opportunity to reunite with his children left behind in Nairobi. He says they are being taken care of by good Kenyan neighbors and are attending school as usual. Nonetheless, he knows his children are devastated, and he is afraid that the events and separation for 6 weeks will have a lasting impact on them.
It is not the first time that Philemon has been separated from his family. In 2003, he fled from conflict in his home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and sought refuge in Kenya. His wife and children were only able to join him in 2010 in Nairobi, where they found tranquility until the arrest at church and forced relocation to Dadaab.
Refugees, mainly Congolese relocated to Dadaab during Kenya's Usalama Watch in Nairobi in May 2014 pray together at a transit center in Dagahaley camp where Philemon Bintu is their pastor. UNHCR. D. Mwancha
Philemon’s face displays a lot grief during the interview. His daughter seated next to him is overwhelmed emotionally when her father narrates the ordeal. In Nairobi, she was attending a private high school, and had started her 10 grade earlier this year. She says she has never been out of school for a whole month before she says.
Philemon’s wife worked with the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) in Nairobi until she was arrested. She asks the government of Kenya to forgive her community, even though they have not committed any crime. .
As a pastor, Philemon spends most of his time comforting over 170 fellow Congolese facing the same predicament as him. He is also their spokesman.
On 23 March, Philemon had been accepted for resettlement to the USA and was supposed to do a medical checkup and finalize the process in May. He now fears that he might have lost this opportunity to find a durable solution, as he has not been told if the medicals have been rescheduled.
Philemon expresses He asks UNHCR to relocate them to another country, if possible.
Philemon ends by explaining that he has organized with his Kenyan neighbors, to ensure his four children in Nairobi do not miss school
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Also published at http://www.tamuka.org/2014/06/a-congolese-couple-relocated-to-dadaab-camp-six-weeks-ago-asks-to-be-reunited-with-their-children-in-nairobi/