Suspected Somali bandits kill two, torch houses in Mwingi

During the Monday attack, the first victim a 75-year-old man who couldn’t run for his life due to old age was sprayed with bullets at Ngooni village and later beheaded with an axe, as his family scampered for safety.

Tension is high at Ukasi area in Mwingi following the killing of two more people and torching of several homesteads by suspected Somali bandits.

Armed with guns, the bandits ambushed several homesteads at the volatile border of Kitui and Tana River counties in the latest wave of senseless violence, which has so far claimed 28 lives since last year, maimed dozens and displaced hundreds of families. 

According to the Chief of Ukasi location Benjamin Mui, the attackers later set ablaze several houses in his compound reducing them to ashes.

The administrator told the Nation that the bandits had earlier kidnapped Mr Katumo’s wife outside the family compound but later abandoned after senselessly beating. The woman sustained injuries and is undergoing treatment at Mwingi Level Four Hospital.

Another elderly man was killed in a similar fashion near the Mwingi -Garissa highway, after he was cornered while escaping the daylight ambush.

“Since 2016, we’ve lost 28 people in such banditry attacks and 8 of those victims were killed in the last two months alone” the Chief explained adding residents are living in fear and were starving after their houses were torched..

He said another man survived the yesterday’s attack after he was shot on his legs and seriously wounded. He is being treated at the same hospital.

The killings happened just one week after another man was ambushed and gunned down while grazing his cattle in the neighboring Kasiluni area, sparking renewed tension in the county with leaders demanding firm and decisive action by the government.

Six primary schools in Ukasi remain closed since January after hundreds of families fled the area and started living in makeshift camps following the killing of four people on Christmas day last year.

The closed learning institutions include Ngooni, Engamba, Kasiluni, Kathungu Inyanzai, and Sosoma primary schools.

Mwingi central MP Joe Mutambu who visited the area condemned the bandit incidences saying the pastoral conflict between the Kamba and Oroma communities was a smoke screen for banditry.

“We will not sit and watch our people being butchered helplessly, those responsible for security must stop these attacks or else we devise our way of protecting ourselves” the MP said after visiting the affected families.

Mr Mutambu urged the government to beef up security in the area by evicting the illegal aliens and herders who have invaded the area in search of pastures for their livestock.

No arrests have been made by police so far but Eastern Regional Commissioner Wycliffe Ogallo promised that the government will conduct an operation in the South Kitui and Kora game reserves to flush out the illegal aliens.

Mr Ogallo who toured the area yesterday said everything will be done to ensure security is restored

in the areas bordering Garissa and Tana River counties as police pursue the bandits.

“The government will start recruiting police reservists among the residents to boost their security as we conduct operation to mop up all illegal arms being used to terrorize innocent people” Mr Ogallo said.

While assuring the locals, he said three police camps had been established along the border of the three counties and a contingent of security personnel deployed to contain banditry attacks.

The senior administrator also cautioned the residents against entering lease agreements for grazing pastures and water with strangers without involving government authorities.

He directed that the herders produce letters of introduction by their respective chiefs from their counties of origin before being allowed into Kitui County.

“We’ll enforce our mechanisms to drive away these invaders from our midst but the residents must also play their civic duty to cooperate and provide information to security agencies” he said.

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