9 November 2017

Kenya: Lamu Terror IDPs Return Home as State Assures Security

A section of terror IDPs at Katsaka Kairu camp in Lamu County have heeded the government's call to go back to their villages after security was restored.

Early last week, the government had directed the over 2,000 IDPs to vacate the camp and return home but many of them refused to leave.

The IDPs had vowed not to move out of the camp until the government compensates them for the time spent there and also for the loss they incurred in their farms back home while at the camp.

They had also said they feared for their lives once they returned home despite assurances that their villages are now safe and free from Al-Shabaab attacks.

Nation established that by Wednesday this week, almost 40 percent of the IDPs at Katsaka Kairu had gone back home with those remaining promising to do so before the end of the month.

AL-SHABAAB

Following Al-Shabaab attacks in Pandanguo, Jima, Poromoko and Maleli several months ago, villagers fled to IDP camps in Katsaka Kairu and the Witu AIC Church.

The villagers mostly from Kakathe, Maleli, Nyongoro, Taa and Boramoyo found themselves as IDPs after they were asked to leave their villages in order to pave way for a security operation meant to flush out Al-Shabaab militants from within and around their villages.

Those who spoke to Nation said they had no other option except vacating the camp and going back to their villages since the assistance they were being offered by the government including food and medication was slowly being withdrawn.

"We aren't confident with the security situation back home but we don't have any alternative except returning since the government has said so. We expected the government to compensate us for the time spent at the camps and resources lost back at home while we were living here as IDPs. It seems the government isn't willing to accept our request. Life has become unbearable here and we have to leave," said Mrs Ruth Tsanyu.

The IDPs spokesperson, Mr Simon Mgumba, said their crops back home had been destroyed by wild animals while their homes were looted dry.

SHOCK

Mr Mgumba said the government'S order for the IDPs to go back home came as a shock to them and that it was the obligation of the government to give them a package to start life afresh with.

"We expected the government of send us home with a package for us to be able to start over once we leave the camp but nothing has been done. We are going emptyhanded. We are worried that life will be very hard for us at home," said Mr Mgumba.

On her side, Mrs Elizabeth Changawa said it was unfortunate that the government had started cutting down on aid to the camps making their lives very uncomfortable.

The mother of four said it was unfair that the government compensated the 2007/2008 post-election violence IDPs yet it is finding it hard to do the same for them yet they faced with similar challenges.

"We don't know where to start. Here at the camps we are no longer getting enough supplies as frequently as we used to and we know that is meant to make us go away. That's why we have decided to leave but I don't understand why it's hard for the government to compensate us," said Mrs Changawa.

Kenya

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