Residents want the government to compensate the families of 31 people killed in livestock raids conducted by neighbouring communities since 2013.
Some 603 residents of Mwingi Central, Mwingi North, and Kitui South sub-counties filed the petition Wednesday at the Kitui High Court, claiming that the government has failed in its obligation to protect their lives and property.
Through a human rights lawyer, Christopher Nzili, the petitioners also demanded that the government drive out bands of pastoralists who are grazing livestock on their land and pay for the property destroyed by the invaders.
Justice Lillian Mutende will in two weeks hear the application and fix a date for an inter-party hearing.
The residents have listed the Cabinet secretaries in the ministries of Interior and Lands as the first and second respondents.
Others are the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General.
They justified their petition on the grounds that insecurity in the area has escalated and that the county’s leadership was indifferent to finding a lasting solution to the banditry menace.
Mung’atu Kimanzi, Leti Kilonzi, and Kilonzi Musyoka, who signed the petition on behalf of their colleagues, said they were seeking compensation for torched houses and livestock stolen during raids.
“We want to tell the Jubilee administration that we are fed up with this senseless killing and maiming of our people by bandits from northern Kenya. Their hideouts must be flattened, the pastoralists flushed out and disarmed, and police posts set up on the border between Kitui and Tana River counties,” the petitioners said.
Addressing the petitioners, Mwingi Central Parliamentary aspirant, Gideon Mulyungi said the residents would not accept anything short of the government’s commitment and assurance that a lasting solution would be found.
“Justice must be restored and an end to marginalisation realised,” Mulyungi said.
Four victims of a bandit attack were buried on Friday last week.
A somber mood engulfed the remote Ngooni village, Ukasi location, Nguni ward during the joint burial ceremony of Matei Mauta, his brother Kyalo Mauta, Kiema Munyumbu, and Mutambuki Katumo, who were killed near the border between Kitui and Tana River counties.
The fifth victim, Muthami Mulonzya, will be buried next weekend.
The attack prompted Governor Julius Malombe to challenge the government to admit that it had failed to protect the lives and property of the residents of the area.