, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – Residents of Isiolo County on Saturday accused the state of ignoring their plight following the rising insecurity in the area that has seen both lives and property lost.
One of the local leaders who spoke in Nairobi when the communities handed over their demands to the Kenyan government through the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) claimed that a family of five and a lorry driver were killed in separate incidents and a group of tourists robbed in the past week alone.
Mr Adan Wario argued that the government\’s laxity in ensuring peace in the area was an abuse of the provisions of the new laws touching on human rights.
"We are deeply concerned that the government has not acted on insecurity in this region even with more 132 people killed, 290 seriously injured and another 10,298 shot. 4,800 camels were rustled and only 1900 were recovered, " he claimed, stating that the statistics covered a three year period.
The residents, who also accused the District Peace Committee of being lax, said they had lost faith in local institutions and called on the international community\’s intervention.
They were also of the opinion that the recent disarmament exercise in parts of North Eastern Kenya was not successful.
"We want the African Union, IGAD (Intergovernmental Government Authority on Development and the United Nation to come and investigate these occurrences because the local institutions have failed," said Isiolo Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mohamed Hussein.
Mr Hussein also explained that the incessant insecurity would worsen poverty in the region and alienate it from the rest of the country.
"How do you talk of a resort city with a meat industry and international airport while you cannot even restore the security of the local investors? How do you attract foreign investors? Here the government has failed and it does not have a proper agenda," said Mr Daoud Tari a civil society leader.
On her part, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake\’s Asli Wako accused the government of being biased in providing security to Kenyans. She pointed out that the violent attacks were also to blame for the rising number of orphans and widows in the area.
"We keep crying out to the government but to no avail. Things are getting worse and we don\’t know who to turn to. The number of women who are now forced to lead households keeps increasing," she said.
The residents further claimed that the situation had been aggravated by political expansionist tendencies, as a result of the new devolution governance system.
"We feel that some communities want to subdue us and we will not allow such ambitions. The government must therefore urgently attend to the boundary dispute between Isiolo and Meru that we suspect is the root cause of the conflict," said Mr Wario.
He also asked the government to secure all the roads in Isiolo County and merge the security forces in the region with those of Tigania.
"The main road to Isiolo County has become the highway of death and we must ensure that people\’s lives are fully protected. They need to stop giving flimsy reasons and start acting," he said.
The area residents also want the government to investigate the alleged role between Wildlife conservancies and cattle rustling and are further demanding monetary compensation for the lives and property lost.
KNCHR Chairperson Florence Joako who received the demands asked the residents to remain peaceful and wait for the government\’s response.
"Don\’t take the law into your own hands because it is not the responsibility of private citizens to protect themselves," she said.