Voices on the Move

Migrants and asylum seekers are routinely arrested in Nairobi’s Eastleigh.
February 07, 2012 Written by: Leandro Oduor

Somalia is "not safe for girls"

Barni Mahmoud is a 19 year old unmarried girl who fled from Somalia on her own. 
Q. What made you leave your country?
“Because of the fighting, it was not safe. Also there was no money to support me. The fighting has made all the work stop. In Somalia there is only fighting, not safe for girls and nothing to eat …”

Q. How did you come from Somalia to Kenya?
“Many Somali people are coming to Kenya all the time. There are many ways. My brother in Kenya, he was fearing for me so he sent me money and told me to come here. He has been in Nairobi for long time. I gave money to a man. He took me to the border; we crossed on foot through a hidden way. Then he showed me to a bus driver who brought me to Nairobi. These hidden ways, there are many that these men know. But on the bus, we were stopped by many police. They asked for papers. The bus driver, he talked to the police outside the bus and then we would go on. I do not know what he talked with the police but I think he gave them money.”

Q. What happened when you arrived in Nairobi?
“I went to Eastleigh, my brother lives there. Now I just stay with him and do the cooking and to keep his children. He said he will find me work. He is happy that I have come but he is still in fear for me. He tells me not to walk outside because the police will catch me and take me away. I hear from many Somalis in Eastleigh that the police are bad, always seeing if you are a refugee, they want to disturb you…. Even onetime, they came, many of them with their sticks and were catching all Somalis and some Ethiopians. I was in the street. When I saw them and heard noise, I hid in my neighbour’s shop, under the counter. By Allah’s will, they did not find me.”

“I am still fearing for myself here but it is good I left Somalia. Things are very bad. Now I am with my brother but I feel tired sometimes…I have always to stay at home to be safe …like in Somalia.”

Contact Us

Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat
DRC East Africa & Great Lakes
Lower Kabete Road
(Ngecha Road Junction)
P.O.Box 14762, 00800
Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 709867 000


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