By PATRICK BEJA and PAUL GITAU
It was not supposed to happen. President Kibaki had issued a dusk to dawn curfew and the five thousand families believed they would be safe although they had to spend another night in the cold.
Their hope proved to be a false dawn as death arrived yet again at 6am in the shape of raiders wearing red bandanas. President Kibaki’s edict was not worth the paper it was printed on.
By the time they left, four more villagers were dead in Semikaro and Nduru villages in Tana River County. “The attackers stormed the villages at 6am and we had to run for our dear lives to avoid being burnt in our houses. They were armed with superior guns, spears bows, and arrows,” said a villager, identified as Said Rova.
It came even as houses torched in the previous day’s massacre were still smouldering, the smoke billowing steadily into the sky, warning families not to dare return. Rova said the gang stormed the village and found him in his house.
“I made a quick decision and dashed to the bush although the policemen were stationed nearby. I could not run straight to where they were because the raiders could have shot me,” said Rova.
He lost everything as the attackers ransacked his house and took away all his earthly belongings. Roba watched as four of his immediate neighbours were gunned down in a hail of gunfire. Another villager, Majid Morowa, said he rushed out to rescue his neighbours after he fired some shots to scare the gang.
“As a police reservist, I fired some shots to rescue the villagers who were under siege,” he said. Morowa said the attackers had superior weapons and they forced the villagers out before burning their houses.
“These people are armed to the teeth while we are running out of bullets,” he said with pain and anguish in his deep voice. The Chara location chief, Jaricha Fumo, was not spared either and was among those who narrowly survived the attack. His home was among those raiders attacked and reduced to ashes.
“I’m just like any of the villagers because my home was attacked and my belongings stolen,” said the administrator. Mr Fumo said he was staying at Semikaro camp where about 40 police officers have been stationed to protect the internally displaced persons.
Scared villagers trooped out to primary schools where they sought protection after the latest wave of bloodletting. A day before, 38 were killed in Kilelengwani, including nine police officers.