Armed camel herders continue to pose a security threat as families flee their homes in Kitui East despite government’s promises to restore peace in the area.
Twelve families from Kinanie village in Kitui East have fled their homes after gun wielding camel herders forcefully evicted the locals from their farmlands.
Chairman of Kinanie Community Policing Unit Kitonga Mwaniki on Tuesday confirmed that several families, who had fled their homes, now live in makeshift structures.
“This area is served by Endau Police Post which is over 20 kilometres away, in case of an attack, it may take hours before the police arrive,” said Mr Mwaniki.
He claimed that Endau Police Post relies on Mutitu Police Station’s vehicle during emergencies since it has none.
“There is poor telephone network connectivity in Kinanie. In case of an attack, we rely on boda bodas to take the message to Endau Police Post for action,” noted Mwaniki.
He appealed to the government to construct a police post in the area.
Mr Mutia Maleli, a member of one of the displaced families said: “The herders invaded my farmland with their camels. I had to move away from my well-built home, we now live in constant fear of attack,” said Mr Maleli.
He appealed to the government to flush the pastoralists out of their area to enable the displaced families return to their homes.
He also urged the State to compensate them after their crops were destroyed by the camel herders.
“I do not see myself going back to my farmland in the near future, the situation on the ground is still volatile,” Mr Maleli said.
Mutitu Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Micah Ondoro, however denied that armed herders had driven families from their farms.
“If there is anyone who has moved out of his home, it is voluntary and not related to insecurity posed by camel herders’ invasion,” said Ondoro.
However, the administrator said he had already dispatched a security team to ascertain the claims of displacement of families.
“I have toured the area and people are going about their daily routines. Schools are open and normal learning is taking place. We have total control of the security situation in the area and there is nothing to worry about,” said Ondoro.