Scores of people have fled their homes after a fresh wave of attack that left one dead and two people abducted in Endau, Kitui East constituency.
The deadly attack occurred on Saturday night after armed assailants killed a local businessman, Kitonga Musembi in Endau shopping centre.
Victims of the latest bandit attack in Kitui East and Kitui South constituencies are spending cold nights in the forests after fleeing their homes in fear of their lives.
The over 1, 600 people, including school children, are stranded in makeshift camps at Imuumba in remote Kitui East, Musenge Primary School and Mutha Catholic Church in Kitui South.
Speaking in Mutha on Sunday, the Kitui South legislator, Rachael Nyamai said that the renewed bandit attack is beyond politics.
“The armed camel herders have oppressed our community for decades. We are calling for a permanent solution. Disarm and flush out the herders,” said Nyamai.
On her part, Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu lamented about the prolonged oppression meted against the Akamba community by the heavily armed bandits over the years.
“The government is giving little weight to insecurity in Kitui despite the magnitude of attacks. Our people are internally displaced by bandits. The government should act firmly on this matter,” said Governor Ngilu.
The attack comes against the backdrop of a powerful security delegation to the affected areas a week ago led by Inspector General, Hillary Mutyambai.
Mutyambai called on communities in the area to coexist peacefully adding that they should shun divisive political narratives meant to disrupt their livelihoods.
Early September, the locals fled their homes in Mutha, Kalamba, Kyeni, Musenge, Inyale and Imuumba villages after the Somali bandits, masquerading as camel herdsmen unleashed terror on them killing two men and injuring others.
The distraught residents also said the Internally displaced people (IDPs) are struggling with of lack of decent shelter as well as basic needs like food, water and healthcare services.
“We left our homes with nothing and here we have no source of income to fend for our families. We are depending on humanitarian aid from well-wishers who visit us from time to time,” they said.
The IDPs do not have access to water, food, shelter and basic human supplies after fleeing their homes and schools have been closed.
The locals called upon the State to initiate eviction of the armed Somali camel herdsmen from Kitui County so as to restore security in the banditry-prone zone.
Speaking in Mutha on Sunday when she donated food and clothing to the IDPs, the Kitui County MP, Dr. Irene Kasalu called upon the national government to abolish the illegal settlement within the South Kitui Game Reserve which serves as the bandits’ hideout.
“We want the State to flush out all illegal inhabitants within the South Kitui Game Reserve who have been terrorising and even killing the locals adjacent to the protected area so that our people can live in peace,” Dr Kasalu emphasised.
By Yobesh Onwong’a