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Monday, January 2, 2012

Residents flee Isiolo after killings



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By  Nation Correspondents
Posted  Sunday, January 1  2012 at  22:00
Tension remained high in Isiolo town, a day after bandits killed nine people in a raid on Kambi ya Juu village.
Only a small group of youth remained in the village, with those interviewed by the Daily Nation saying they were spending the nights away from the area for fear of attacks.
Even the heavy presence of police officers, including some from the General Service Unit, failed to make the residents return to their homes.
The hall at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, where hundreds of people had sought refuge, was deserted.
Police jungle uniform
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According to eyewitnesses, the heavily armed attackers, who were in police uniform, stormed the church and the surrounding villages, shooting anyone they came across, including women and children.
Mr Samuel Muriuki, a resident of Kambi ya Juu, said he was lucky to escape death.
“I heard several gunshots and retreated to the house and pretended to be asleep. Suddenly, two gunmen in police jungle uniform were standing by me, asking whether I had any money. They snatched my phone and walked away,” he said.
“They had no mercy. We wonder what they were after,” said a villager who had since fled the area.
Two-year-old Ikeno Mwangi was admitted to the Isiolo District Hospital after he sustained a bullet wound on his left arm during the attack. His mother died in the incident.
More than 800 officers from the General Service Unit, Administration Police and regular force were sent to the area as the security situation deteriorated.
The move followed Sunday’s visit to Isiolo by Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and the deputy secretary in the Internal Security ministry, Mr Mutea Iringo, after the killings.
Turkana and Somali communities living in Isiolo have been engaged in attacks and counter-attacks.
About 40 people — including children, women and elderly men — have been killed since October last year.
This was despite frequent intervention by elders, the provincial administration and Internal Security minister George Saitoti.
Upper Eastern regional commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said that the officers are being led by Eastern provincial police boss Marcus Ochola.
He assured the residents that the government had enough machinery and personnel to end the insecurity in the area.
Additional reporting by KNA

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