Families return to their homes after days of tension in Igembe
Over 200 households in Igembe Central Sub County of Meru County that fled attacks from unknown people along the Meru-Isiolo border have returned to their homes.
The 250 families from Ithika, Ntukai, Mpeketoni, Maraene, Kinanduba and Kathucine villages had fled their homes following attacks that area administration said was occasioned by the lynching of a bodaboda rider in Kiutine area who was suspected to be a thief.
Speaking to hundreds of residents of the area at Ntukai Market where the affected families gathered to receive non-food items from the Kenya Red Cross Society in collaboration with other well-wishers. Area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Baxton Mayabi cautioned residents against causing unnecessary alarm saying that the security situation had been fixed.
Mayabi assured them that peace had been restored and enough police officers had been deployed to the area where ten people were killed in retaliatory attacks following the killing of the bodaboda rider.
“There is no reason to continue staying in camps because this is where your legitimate residence is. We are holding talks with other stakeholders from the Isiolo County side to ensure communities continue co-existing as they have been doing before,” said the DCC.
He said investigations had been launched into reports that some residents were torching their houses in order to earn compensation from well-wishers.
“We are aware that three people had torched their houses on getting a hint that the Kenya Red Cross Society was planning to donate relief aid to the affected families. Such people will be arrested and charged with arson,” said the DCC.
He dismissed claims that the killings were politically instigated cautioning residents against buying such propaganda.
He warned individuals spreading malicious information that there are people interested in dispossessing the residents from the land through causing tension to make them flee the area.
Mayabi stated that the government was planning to establish a police station in the area to curb similar incidents in future. He urged residents to single out cattle rustlers that operate in the area.
He further said there was need for the establishment of a school in Ntonkai area to save children from trekking for miles to attend school. “We are informed that many children drop out school because schools are very far,” he regretted.
The Kenya Red Cross Eastern Regional Coordinator, Mugambi Gitonga appealed to communities living along the Meru-Isiolo border to live peacefully and not to be separated by anything since they have been living in harmony in the past.
“Let us assist the government in reporting any criminal activities in our areas because that is the best way to serve our country,” he added.
Miraa traders recounted how they had lost business following the conflict that had instilled fear among customers by the armed criminals who killed ten people at the beginning of the week.
“We are pleased with the government for deploying enough security in this area. Peace has finally come and we are going on with our normal miraa business,” said Mwiti Solanki, a miraa trader.
By Richard Muhambe