Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turkana residents turn heat on state

Missionaries collecting bodies of those killed after bandits raided Todonyang in Turkana North District on May 2, 2011.  Photo/PETER WARUTUM

Missionaries collecting bodies of those killed after bandits raided Todonyang in Turkana North District on May 2, 2011. Photo/PETER WARUTUM 

By WALTER MENYA wmenya@ke.nationmedia.com and BARNABAS BII bbii@ke.nationmedia.com

Leaders and residents of Turkana turned their anger on the government after suspected Merille bandits from Ethiopia killed 20 Kenyans.

Led by the area MP and Labour Minister John Munyes, they blamed the government for laxity in securing the area.

Following the massacre, Todonyang residents are fleeing the area for fear of more attacks. (READ: Dozens feared dead in Turkana bandit attack)

A villager, Ms Ikaru Seno, said that all her livestock and fishing gear were taken away by the bandits.

“If the same people are now coming for our lives, then I have no business staying here,” she said.

Reports on Wednesday indicated more than 50 Turkana families have been evacuated from the Kenya-Ethiopia border after the Monday killings.

Schools have also been deserted as children run away with their parents, according to the headteacher of Todonyang Primary School, Mr Abdi Noor.

Even small businesses were closed as residents sought refuge at the local Catholic Church.

“Instead of progressing, we are going several steps backwards. The only solution to this problem is for the government to man the border. Only then will we be assured of our safety,” he said.

Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa and the provincial security team visited Todonyang, Turkana North District the site of the massacre. Four bandits also died.

Mr Munyes, who accompanied the team, condemned the massacre and asked the government to put in place quick measures to restore order.

Even as the team was visiting the area, Mr Munyes said the bandits were still firing from their location.

He claimed the raiders have also been destroying beacons on the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

Local leaders asked the government to drive the Merilles back to their native Ethiopia.

The bandits, Mr Munyes said, have been operating about seven kilometres inside the Kenyan territory.

Turkana North DC Jack Opuo said the 20 people were killed in a revenge attack following the murder of four Merilles on the shores of Lake Turkana.

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