In Summary
  • There has been a recurrence of the long standing pastoral conflicts pitting peasant farmers in the region and invading Somali herders.
  • According to statistics released by the Kenya Red Cross Society, the numbers are swelling by the day as more people flee their homes.
  • Kitui County government Tuesday deployed several water trucks to the camps of the internally displaced people.

More than 200 families who have fled their homes in Kitui South Constituency fearing renewed bandit attacks are at risk of starvation and contracting water borne diseases.

The families, which are camping at Mutha Catholic Church, are also sleeping in the cold after they were forcibly driven out of their homes by armed Somali camel herders who have unleashed terror in the area.

In an ugly recurrence of the long standing pastoral conflicts pitting peasant farmers in the region and invading Somali herders in search of pasture and water, the latest bandit attacks have left three people dead and scores of others with gunshot injuries in the last one week.

RED CROSS FIGURES

According to statistics released by the Kenya Red Cross Society, the numbers are swelling by the day as more people flee their homes.

By Tuesday, a total of 1,327 people, including school children, were camping at Mutha Catholic Church, Musenge and Kyeni primary schools.

County Kenya Red Cross Coordinator Husna Lukowe said the fresh bandit attacks have disrupted learning in at least seven schools after parents withdrew their children and fled their homes.

KEEP VIGIL

“Residents fearing for their lives are preferring to either spend nights next to police posts or keep vigil in the thickets and this has created a humanitarian crisis in the makeshift camps they are staying,” the official said.

While appealing for aid, Ms Lukowe said the affected families are in dire need of food, water and medical supplies as only a few well-wishers have come forward to salvage the situation.

“Kenya Red Cross was only able to supply 75 blankets which were shared among mothers with children under the age of five years and below, with the rest sleeping in the cold,” Ms Lukowe explained.

SCHOOLS CLOSED

The affected schools, whose teachers also fled the area, include Kalambani Day Secondary, Kyeni, Musenge, Ikandani, Kalambani and Ingoo PCEA primary schools.

The residents expressed concerns that security personnel deployed to the area are only doing road patrols and returning to their stations at night, which is not sufficient to drive away the armed attackers who are hiding in the bush.

They accused the government of turning a blind eye to the problem by failing to flush out more than 5,000 people illegally living in South Kitui Game Reserve where some are feared to be illegal foreigners and terror agents responsible for persistent bandit attacks.

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