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Save us from the cold, villagers plead from their makeshift caves

By Irissheel Shanzu | Published Sat, February 10th 2018 at 12:33, Updated February 10th 2018 at 12:40 GMT +3
Thousands of families fled Kamelei sub-location in West Pokot county after their houses were burnt by bandits from the neighbouring community. [File, Standard]

Over 2,000 residents are spending their nights in the bush and caves following last week’s burning of about 250 houses by cattle rustlers along the border of West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

The displaced families from Kamelei sub-location are now calling for humanitarian help.

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They said their children have fallen ill from the cold nights in bushes, seven kilometers away from their homes. They also decried the loss of their dairy cows, which they say died of unknown diseases.

Abraham Litare said he had lost one of his three cows to a mysterious disease and wants to be compensated by the authorities.

“Our animals are congested in one place, leading to spread of diseases. We also lack pastures to graze our animals because we were evicted by bandits,” he said.

He said some residents left their animals in farms since they were unable to drive them to safer places.

“This region is a highland and most of us plant various crops like onions, vegetables, pyrethrum and Irish potatoes. The crops are now rotting in farms and we have nothing to eat,” he said.

Elizabeth Joseph, a resident, wants the national and county governments to send medical help to the area. The nearest dispensary in Kamelei has been turned into a police camp.

“We are suffering and we need the government to help us,” she said.

West Pokot Deputy Governor Nicholas Atudonyang toured the region on Thursday and  asked the national government and non-governmental organisations to bolster the county administration’s efforts to provide residents with drugs and clean water.

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“Children are the most affected. If we don’t take urgent measures  now, water-borne diseases will break out,” he said.