Families flee homes as banditry attacks escalate in Samburu

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Abdi Hassan with members of the Samburu County Security team in Maralal town where he issued a 24-hour ultimatum to bandits to vacate from Malaso escarpment. [Michael Saitoti, Standard]

Many families have fled Morijo, Soit Pus, Angata Nanyoke, and Pura villages in Samburu County, following fresh attacks by bandits.

The past four days have seen the elderly, women and children troop to Maralal town for fear of further attacks.

The families are living in a makeshift camp at the local chief’s office compound.

Raphael Moro, a resident of Poro said frequent banditry attacks have made life difficult in the villages. He is among those who fled the villages.

“We have decided to move out of our homes because the attacks have been more frequent despite assurance from authorities,” said the father of four.

Moro said those who had fled their homes were now facing starvation in the makeshift camp.  “We appeal to the national and county governments to come to the rescue of the families camping here at Maralal,” he said.

Mary Titinuwa, a mother of five from Morijo village said most of the families have lost their livestock to bandits and have been subjected to poverty.

“Bandits have destroyed our lives, they have killed people, stolen our livestock, and displaced us from our homes. We have been left with nothing,” said a tearful Titinuwa.

Naserian Leluwai, one of the affected called for urgent intervention from authorities saying families have been deprived of their livelihoods.

“The attacks have increased and we were left with no other option but to move out of our homes. Here in Maralal, we have no food, no shelter, and our children are not going to school,” she said.

Kirashon Leshimpiro, a community leader, said three schools namely; Morijo, Nkorika, Soit Pus, and Angata have been closed after families fled from Morijo,Loosuk, Lolmolog, Pura and Loibornkare villages.

“Despite the scale of violent attacks by bandits, the impact the attacks have had on women and children is yet to receive sufficient attention from authorities. We need urgent intervention to save a whole community from being extinct,” Leshimpiro said.

Maralal Nyumba Kumi chairman Gulled Mohamed said 30 families have camped at the local chief’s office. “They need basic provisions like shelter, food, and clothes,” Mohamed said.

The religious leaders led by Anglican Church Bishop David Lebarleiya condemned rising incidents of banditry attacks that have forced families to flee villages.

“As religious leaders, we demand action from authorities to end the attacks,” Lebarleiya said.

Following the escalating banditry attacks,  Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Abdi Hassan issued a 24-hour ultimatum to bandits hiding in Malaso escarpment to leave.

Dr Hassan revealed that the security operation in the region has resulted in the killing of 19 bandits.

“We have put in place strategies that will ensure the area is peaceful. In the first quarter of the year, we have managed to prevent attacks and respond effectively to incidents of banditry and killed 19 bandits,” he said.

The administrator said three schools closed in Morijo, Nkorika, Soit Pus, and Angata Nanyokie due to insecurity and high tension will be reopened soon.

“What has led to the people fleeing their homes is just panic. There are no recent attacks in the areas where people have moved out,” he said in Maralal town on Wednesday after chairing a security meeting.