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Kenya IDPs remain adamant

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Despite the deadline for the Internally Displaced Persons to vacate their camps ending on Friday, many of them were still reluctant to leave the sites.

They said they had not been given land to resettle, but the government maintained that to receive any monetary compensation they had to dismantle their tents.

“We will stay here, we are not going anywhere,” said one displaced person at the camp in Eldoret, while others said they were not assured of security should they go back to their farms.

At the peak of the violence, the camps were home to around 500,000 people but two weeks ago, President Mwai Kibaki ordered their immediate closure.

Those living in the camps a year-and-a-half after the signing of the peace accord are reluctant to leave despite the government’s directive. 

Each family has been offered Sh35,000 shillings to leave the camps and settle elsewhere.

According to a statement from the Internal Security Ministry on Friday, the government said the Ministry of Lands had purchased 8,323 acres of land to resettle the 6,802 people still living in camps following the post poll violence in 2007 and 2008.

In the statement, Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia said each of the 3,500 families living in camps would get two acres of land while families to be resettled in low potential areas would get a maximum of four acres each.

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Mr Kimemia said the IDPs moving out of the camps would receive their pieces of land from next Wednesday.

The Ministry of Finance had set aside Sh2 billion to purchase the land and cater for the resettlement process bringing the total to Sh1.4 billion.

He said the other Sh550 million would be used to purchase an extra 10,000 acres of land to resettle more IDPs.

About 600,000 people were displaced following the disputed poll that left about 1,500 others dead.

During Chief Mediator Kofi Annan’s three day visit in Kenya this week, different groups that held talks with him complained that the government had not fully resettled all the displaced persons.

Religious leaders also drew concerns over people who moved in with their relatives when the violence broke. They said the government was only concerned with those physically living in camps.

During the talks, there were also concerns over delicate peace in the country.

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