- Chebon was among hundreds of displaced bandit attack victims.
- She was with her four-year-old son who screamed and villagers rushed to her side but it was too late.
A breastfeeding woman collapsed and died on her way home from a water pan in Ng’aratuko village, Baringo North subcounty.
Emily Chebon, 38, gave birth to her fifth child three weeks ago.
The cause of death has not been ascertained but residents suspect it could be hunger.
“She was trekking back home when she collapsed and died on the spot. No one could immediately tell the cause,” elder Richard Chelal said.
Chebon was among hundreds of displaced bandit attack victims.
Her jobless husband Henry Chesut, a former National Police Reservist, was not at home at the time.
He was patrolling the porous borders with other men to keep away bandits.
The area borders Tiaty, where a contingent of security officers is currently carrying out an operation to flash out armed bandits.
Chebon was carrying a 20-litre jerrycan filled with muddy water and was holding the hand of her four-year-old son when she died at 4pm on Wednesday.
It was the boy's screams when his mother collapsed that attracted the attention of the villagers, who rushed over to help.
“We could not help because we found her already lying lifeless. We just alerted police who came and transported the body to the mortuary,” Chelal said.
Baringo North police commander Fred Odinga confirmed the incident.
He said the cause of the death could not be ascertained immediately.
Odinga said police took the body to Baringo Referral Hospital mortuary to await postmortem.
Chelal said they believe Chebon died of hunger-related complications.
He said they have not harvested any crop in the last three years after the rains failed.
It has also been a long time since they received any food from government, Chelal added.
“We are really suffering and fear dying of hunger, we don’t know where to run,” he said.
Resident Rebbeca Tonje urged well-wishers to intervene and rescue the three-week-old infant.
“The deceased woman's mother-in-law is sick and disabled so she cannot take care of the orphaned baby,” she said.
Tonje said Chebon's family is among the many in Ng’aratuko village that have been displaced and their livestock stolen by bandits.
“We are really staring at abject poverty. We are appealing to the government to supply us with food and resettle us,” she said.
Besides worrying about starvation, the residents also live in constant fear of being attacked by bandits.
News that the bandits are hiding in nearby bushes planning revenge attacks over the security operation drove them out of their temporary shelters, they said.
More than 800 families have been rendered homeless, numerous injured and thousands of livestock stolen.
Joan Jemutai, founder of New Dawn of Hope NGO, called on the government and donors to donate food and other essentials to the families.
“I visited the ground last week and nearly cried seeing emaciated malnourished children struggling to get up from the ground due to hunger-related illnesses,” she said.
Jemutai said residents who have contracted malaria do not have the means of getting to hospital.
She said the residents urgently require food, fruits, drugs and clothes.
Last week, county commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa said the government will pursue the bandits relentlessly.
He said relief food will be distributed so no Kenyan dies of hunger.
Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya