ONE SHOT DEAD, ANOTHER BEHEADED

'Killer' camel herders drive 400 Kitui families out of homes

In Summary

• One man was shot dead in Kivuio while another was beheading in Kalambani

• He says police at Imuumba police station are helpless as they do not have a vehicle to patrol the area

Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai with the IDPs at Imuumba police station on Tuesday
INTERNALLY DISPLACED: Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai with the IDPs at Imuumba police station on Tuesday
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Attacks by camel herders in Muthungue and Imuumba, Kitui East, have led to the displacement of more than 400 families, an MP has said.

Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai on Wednesday said the exodus was triggered by the killing of an elderly man in Kivuio village, Imuumba, on Sunday. The man was shot dead, the legislator said.

Mbai said another resident was beheaded with a panga in Kalambani village, Kitui South.

“The killing in my area and another that happened on Sunday at Kalambani village in the neighbouring Kitui South subcounty, where a man was beheaded, has forced residents to flee their homes in fear,” the MP said.

Mbai said police officers in his constituency do not have vehicles to patrol the area and track the killers. 

“All the 400 families who have become internally displaced persons are languishing at Imuumba police post, where I found them on Tuesday. They do not have water and risk getting sick for spending nights in the cold,” Mbai told the Star on the phone.

He claimed three elderly women had yet to be accounted for.

Efforts to contact Kitui county police commander Lydia Ligami to respond to the claims were unsuccessful. She could not be reached on her phone because of network problems.

The MP urged the national government to set up permanent security patrol camps in Kitui county to ward off the armed herders who venture into the area and attack residents.

“If Governor Charity Ngilu could order a stop to the issuing of no objection permits that allow the herders to graze in Kitui, these killings would come to an end. But armed with the permits, the herders graze on farms, leading to clashes with locals,” he said.

He also urged the county government to supply water to the displaced persons as well as medical supplies.

In the wake of the weekend killings, Kitui county commissioner John Ondego on Monday said security patrols had been intensified in the affected areas, especially in the South Kitui National reserve.

He said illegal herders would be flushed out of the protected area.

Displaced families at Imuumba police station on Tuesday after they fled their homes
INTERNALLY DISPLACED: Displaced families at Imuumba police station on Tuesday after they fled their homes
Image: Musembi Nzengu