“The area is a food basket for Isiolo town. A majority of residents are farmers who are often disrupted by the military activities,” Ms Nyaruai said.

VICTIMS OF BOMBS

Several people have died, acquired permanent disabilities, been injured, suffered burns, developed hearing problems while others have been left with scars after unknowingly touching, playing with, carrying or hitting uncollected military ordnances in the area.

The ordnance abandoned by soldiers not only ruined Ndung'u's dream of becoming a doctor but has also caused misery to many families in Kakili, Maili Saba, Maili Tano, BBC and Elsa Ntirim areas.

Ms Monica Athbital, a mother of four, vividly recalls how her life changed for the worse.

When she moved to Kakili village years ago, she hoped to make a decent living by engaging in farming since the area is very fertile.

Apart from farming, she occasionally engages in charcoal burning to fend for her young family since she is the sole bread winner after her husband deserted them.

One day, while she was fetching firewood at a nearby thicket, she claimed to have heard a gunshot and a bullet buzzed close by, missing her by luck.

HEARING PROBLEM

While she was trying to contemplate what happened, she heard a second gunshot.

She next woke up at Isiolo Referral Hospital after a Good Samaritan intervened. A skull X-Ray revealed that a bullet had lodged in her skull.

She was later operated and the bullet removed, but she developed a hearing problem till date.

Mr Ibrahim Hussien, another victim, sustained injuries on his hand, legs and his private parts after a scrap metal dealer unknowingly sold him a bomb, which detonated as he went on with his daily activity as a blacksmith.

Mr Hussein decried the government’s failure to compensate victims, saying nobody seems to pay much attention despite cases of death being reported.

He said the army does not even cater for treatment.

MILITARY DENIES CLAIMS

There is also a tug-of-war over encroachment between the military and locals, with both factions claiming ownership.

But SOI Commandant John Warioba denied claims of military abandoning live explosives, saying soldiers do not fire bombs while training in the area but only fire small arms (rifles).

“When we want to do firing of bombs, we go far to Lalesoro, Samburu County; we don’t do any firing of high trajectory weapons. We have nothing to do with their allegations,” said the commandant.

He also maintained that no victim had complained or reported the matter to the military base.

On alleged encroachment, Mr Warioba said the military has clear boundaries with title deeds to prove ownership, adding that the matter is being handled by the National Land Commission (NLC).

“We have had two sittings with NLC on the same and they are yet to finalise on the issue, I cannot comment more,” the military official said.

ENCROACHMENT

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said there is need to have a thorough enclosure and relocate the military bases in Isiolo to isolated areas since the town is rapidly growing.

Dr Kuti held that there is tension between communities and the military since they are expanding their land and some bases are even claiming areas very close to the growing town.

“We have heard explosions, people maimed, serious injuries and people losing their limbs in areas where the military practices with live explosives and bullets. There is an urgent need to address the issue of explosives abandoned by both our army and the British army,” Mr Kuti said.

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