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Mt Elgon locals ask for food amid attacks by gangs

Thursday March 1 2018

Mt Elgon

Mt Elgon residents take refuge at Kapkirongo Primary School in Bungoma County on February 28, 2018. They fled attacks by suspected members of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DENNIS LUBANGA
By DENNIS LUBANGA
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Hundreds of families in Mt Elgon are camping in primary schools following attacks by criminal gangs that have terrorised residents since the year started.

Most are camping at Kapkurongo Primary School for fear of being attacked by suspected members of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) at the disputed Chebyuk settlement scheme.

A spot check by the Nation on Wednesday revealed that others who are fleeing are seeking refuge at Cheptais, Kapsokwony, Chwele and Kitale towns in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.

More than 20 people have been killed in the past two months, the latest being two weeks ago when four were killed in Cheptais Sub-County.

FOOD
Some 600 families have fled Korng’otuny and Kapkurongo villages following attacks by suspected SLDF members.

Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, the residents, who are mainly farmers, said they had nothing to eat or drink since they cannot do anything at Chebyuk to earn an income.

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The families fled with their belongings and, by Wednesday, the village was deserted.

Now they fear their properties will be stolen if the government does not provide security.

They vowed never to go back to their homes until the government deploys police reservists.

“We want to tell the government that we have nothing to eat here in Mt Elgon. We depend on farming for survival but since the eruption of these attacks, we have not been able to go to our farms,” Mr Bernard Wakhungu Wanyonyi, the spokesman for the Mt Elgon IDPs, said.

He further asked the government to provide them with food and water.

EDUCATION
Another resident, Ms Dorothy Wanyonyi, said they have to move their belongings from classrooms and administration offices every morning to give room to teachers and pupils to go on with learning.

Some schools are also without teachers since most come from Kakamega and Chepkube.

However, speaking to the Nation on the phone, Bungoma Police Commandant Charles Munyoli said there was no cause for alarm since the government was on top of the matter and asked residents not to flee.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s Wednesday visit was cancelled.