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Loldaiga fire victims seek compensation from British Army

At least 6,000 residents of Loldaiga in Laikipia North who were affected by a wildfire have filed for compensation from the British Army.

Kelvin Kubai, a lawyer representing the Loldaiga fire victims, speaking in Nanyuki on Monday, said the Loldaiga community continue to experience challenges of food insecurity, human-wildlife conflict and diseases due to the fire incident believed to have been sparked by British Army Training Unit-Kenya (BATUK) activities in March 2021.

“When the environment is interfered with, the whole ecosystem is disrupted from food security, human and animal health. We continue to face issue of food insecurity and so far, we have lost harvests in four seasons as a result,” said Kubai, added.

“We still have animals marauding in villages because their habitat is destroyed, they do not have elsewhere to go and they usually invade homes to find water and food. When they come, they don’t come in peace but with destruction of property,” he added.

He pointed out that the most affected areas on human wildlife conflicts are Muramati, Kimugandura and Daiga locations and they continue to receive more claims ahead of the deadline on December 19, 2022.The claim forms will be submitted to the Intergovernmental Liaison Committee.

According to the lawyer, there was substantial damage caused by the fire which saw about 12,000 acres of land razed in Loldaiga.

“With the evaluation especially on issues of health complications and property destroyed, I am seeing an estimate of Sh3 million and the most serious cases over Sh10 million,” revealed Kubai.

Further, due to the fire incident, Linus Murangiri was allegedly crushed to death by the British Army vehicle as he tried to help extinguish the fire. He left behind two kids aged two and four years respectively. Karen Gatwiri, Murangiri’s wife said he was the sole breadwinner in the family.

Loldaiga fire victims had also complained health problems of hearing loss, asthma, chest complications, crying eyes and birth defects of both children and livestock. In October, this year, through the Intergovernmental Liaison Committee BATUK agreed to compensate the Loldaiga victims after a long wait.

They were expected to fill and submit the claims forms within sixty days.

By Muturi Mwangi

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