Hundreds of families have fled their homes after armed Somali bandits invaded Kitui South Constituency in search of water and pasture for their camels.
The armed bandits over the weekend killed one elderly man and injured two others, who are still nursing gunshot and machete wounds at Mutomo Mission Hospital.
Scores of homes have been deserted in Musenge area leading to the closure of Kyeni Primary School with a population of 158 pupils due to escalating insecurity along the porous Kitui-Tana River border.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are camping at Mutha Police Station and Musenge Shopping Centre for fear of attacks from the gun wielding bandits who have invaded people’s farmlands.
Speaking on Monday to KNA at Mutomo Mission Hospital, Senior Medical Officer Dr. John Amollo said that the patients, Jonathan Nyamai and Daniel Matuku, were out of danger as their conditions had stabilized.
On the same score, after attending a series of barazas in Kitui South constituency, area legislator Rachael Nyamai condemned the killing of the innocent person in Musenge area of Mutha Ward calling it a wake-up call to security apparatus in Kitui County.
‘These kinds of killings have gone on for far too long with little action taken on perpetrators. I want to state categorically that Kamba lives matter and must be protected to the full extent of the law,’ said Nyamai.
The MP noted that one of the principle duties of any State is to provide security to its citizens, ‘Any State that pays lip service, is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens from any nature of aggression loses its legitimacy in the face of the vulnerable citizens.’
Nyamai appealed to the government to offer protection to her people from the aggressors who have superior weapons against the unarmed locals.
‘When elected leaders demand protection for their people, it is because that is what we are elected to do. These heinous killings have to stop forthwith. The bandits are raping women and girls. They are also stealing livestock. The government should act now,’ said a visibly angry MP.
‘From now going forward, it cannot be business as usual. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone without regard to tribe, religion or social status. In the meantime, I appeal for calm among our people in Mutha as we try to get to the bottom of this matter,’ said Nyamai.
Mutomo Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Ronald Nyakasi, who addressed the IDPs at Mutha and Musenge, said that the government has already mobilized a contingent of security personnel who are combing the area to flush out the bandits.
‘I appeal for calm as security officers weed out the rogue and dangerously armed camel herders to ensure the safety of the people before they return to their homes and re-opening of the affected schools,’ said Nyakasi.
Joram Katunga, a local in Mutha, said that the herdsmen have taken over watering points in Mutha and Mutomo areas for their camels as locals trek kilometres away in search of the precious commodity.
Katunga lamented that tension has gripped the area with locals fleeing their homes and called for swift security intervention to avert a catastrophe since many of the farmers cannot tend their farms ahead of the October-December rain season.
James King’ondu, who has also lost relatives through the skirmishes, urged the government to intervene and compensate the families who have lost their beloved through the clashes.
King’ondu said they want nothing less than the eviction of the bandits who control the Thua River belt that has been a lifeline for the locals, ‘We cannot fetch water from the river due to fear of attacks.’
According to locals who have fled from some homes near the areas rife with conflict, the herders, mostly from Tana River and Garissa counties often clash with the local community over pasture and water resources but cross back to their counties after committing crimes.
The residents are appealing to the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to come to their rescue since the security officers in the area are not effective.
By Yobesh Onwong’a