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Locals cry for help as banditry leaves two dead

Monday May 15 2017
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Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery addresses the media on security issues at Harambee House in Nairobi on April 24, 2017. Kitui residents want the government to tackle banditry that has led to loss of lives. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KITAVI MUTUA

Two more people have been killed in fresh attacks by bandits at Kasiluni in Kitui County, a week after a similar attack in the same area.

The two were ambushed separately and shot in their farms on Sunday in the volatile area, which borders Mwingi Game Reserve, bringing the number of people killed in the last week to four.

Police who responded to the attack collected one body but another one was discovered by residents not far from the scene.

ILLEGAL HERDERS
The latest victims are Musili Munyoki and Mwandikwa Kamene.

So far since June last year, 35 people have lost their lives, others maimed and hundreds of families displaced.

Kitui Central OCPD Muthuri Mwongera said the killers are suspected to be illegal herders who have encroached the area and that a security operation is underway to repulse them.

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The murders come only five days after more than 200 women broke down in tears at a public meeting addressed by Kitui Senator David Musila and Mwingi North MP John Munuve to express their desperation over the relentless attacks.

WIDOWS AND ORPHANS
The women, who have fled their homes, shocked the two leaders who had gone to console them at Kasiluni makeshift camp for internally displaced people, prompting the meeting to be stopped.

In an emotional show of anguish, they removed their headscarves and wept uncontrollably, some rolling on the muddy ground as the two leaders watched in utter disbelief.

Some of them said that they have been rendered widows and many children orphaned over the years.

At some point, Mr Musila and Mr Munuve - who were accompanied by local chiefs and journalists - also shed tears.

"What language can we use for the government to hear our cries and understand our plight? We are enduring heavy rains sleeping under trees," Ms Kamene Mutati said.

READ: Bandits behead 2 elderly men

READ: Bandits open fire on police, kill 2 women

RESIDENTS FLEE

Ms Mutati, who was holding her two month-old baby whom she said was delivered in the bush, said majority of the residents were starving and were in need of clothing for they fled their homes in a hurry.

"We are treated like non-Kenyans, our cries for help are always ignored as the government treats the banditry menace very casually yet more than 30 people have been killed and dozens more maimed since last year,” the angry mother lamented.

Last week, two people: Mr Ngundi Kimanzi (a nephew of Mr Munuve), and Ndeleva Makau were ambushed and beheaded in separate incidents while grazing their cattle near Mandongoi in Ngomeni.

The armed bandits also attacked a police vehicle patrolling the area and torched two classrooms at Mandongoi Primary School, which is among five schools that remain closed since January after residents fled the area.

POLICE RESERVISTS

Mr Musila questioned the government’s failure to stop the attacks.

The senator questioned why the government halted plans to recruit police reservists in Mwingi, saying there was deliberate laxity and unwillingness to stanch the bleeding.

"We hear in other areas IDPs being given food, blankets and even tents but it’s unfortunate these bandit victims have been ignored by the government and even by disaster organisations like the Red Cross," Mr Musila claimed.

READ: Kitui police hunt down bandits

POLICE TRAINING
In February, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery toured the area and commissioned 80 police reservists but their training was terminated in unexplained circumstances.

"The reservists will be issued with firearms and uniform tomorrow besides being given the necessary training right here,” the CS announced on February 23 when he visited Ukasi, where 31 people have been killed in the past 10 months.

Mr Nkaissery promised the recruits will undergo basic security, training especially on the handling of firearms.

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