Isiolo’s Belgesh village which was completely deserted last year following a series of attacks by armed bandits from Lagdera in neighbouring Garissa County is slowly coming back to life.
However, the returnees are still living in fear despite the government’s effort to ensure the village, situated 30km from the conflict-prone Isiolo-Garissa border, does not suffer further attacks.
In bid to boost security, the national government has deployed two police reservists to guard the fear-stricken village that has 110 households.
THREE SHOT DEAD
Three people including a 70-year-old woman, her grandchild and a boy aged 17, were shot dead in broad day light in the village last year during an attack, forcing hundreds of families to flee to Gafarsa, Malkadaka, Muchuro and Kombola areas.
Isiolo South MP Abdi Koropu Tepo said the village established 21 years ago is an entry point for armed herders from Lagdera Constituency, Garissa County and had suffered frequent attacks since it is the first in line for the herdsmen in pursuit of water and pasture.
Makeshift structures meant to house the families are mushrooming in Belgesh, a sign that normalcy is slowly returning to the once dead village.
The MP, who was accompanied by Garbatulla Sub-County security team was on a mission to identify a site for the construction of Gafarsa divisional headquarters where police posts will be established in order to improve security.
The legislator made assurances that he would seek a variation of this year’s national Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) budget to provide funds for the urgent project.
“A police camp is urgently needed in Belgesh; we will make variations in the 2017/2018 budget and prioritise the project whose construction will likely commence in one month’s time,” said the MP.
It has been a month since residents returned to the village and their deserted local school and dispensary are slowly regaining normalcy.
Mr Adan Hafura, whose 17-year-old son died in the last attack, narrated harrowing tales of the fateful day when six armed attackers descended on the small village killing the helpless locals.
“Locals who solely depend on the government’s relief food are yet to come to terms with the death of their loved ones but despite that they vowed to stay put,” said Mr Hafura.
However, the returnees live in fear of the outbreak of water borne diseases since they rely on a stagnant water dam they share with both their livestock and wild animals.
Garbatulla Deputy County Commissioner Victor Kamonde said the government is in the process of employing more reservists, pledging that the area will be given priority.
The administrator assured the returnees of their security, urging them to report or share intelligence with security personnel to prevent attacks.