Tension high in Kenyan town

July 20, 2009 12:00 am

, ISIOLO, Kenya, Jul 20 – Tension remained high in Isiolo District following the killing of eight people and the displacement of 8000 more at the weekend, police and aid workers said.

The Kenya Red Cross reported that they feared the number of displaced persons in the region could increase because "villagers were still fleeing their homes on Monday."

The humanitarian agency also expressed worry about inadequate food and water following a rising need by men, women and children at the camps where a crisis was unfolding.

"The residents are already vulnerable due to prolonged drought, acute shortage of water, animal deaths and cholera outbreak experienced since the beginning of the year," Titus Mung’ou of the Communications department at the Kenya Red Cross said.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said security deployments had been beefed up to maintain law and order.

"Combined units from various departments are on the ground patrolling the region in search of the stolen cattle and the raiders," Mr Kiraithe said.

Nearly 2,000 heads of cattle were stolen when rustlers raided remote villages of Bullagardud and Akadeli.

According to police, trouble started when the raiders and retaliated and killed eight people after one of them was shot dead by home guards on Tuesday.

This resulted in the closure of three primary schools, affecting over 1,000 pupils and displacing 600 families who camped in Kambi Juu Catholic Church.

During the skirmishes, 36 homes were reported to have been damaged and household goods stolen.

On Friday, at least 50 raiders attacked Gambela residents leaving six people dead and two others injured.  Among the dead was an Administration Policeman, civilians and four home guards. Over 1,000 animals were stolen during the raid.

After the news of the attacks reached Isiolo town, members of one community were roughed up before security officers moved in and transported them to safety in Ngaremara, about 30km from Isiolo.

On Saturday, two members of one community were killed in Isiolo town, heightening tension in the area.

The Kenya Red Cross said it was supplying the displaced civilian population with humanitarian assistance such as food, non-food items, water and healthcare.


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