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66,000 People Displaced by Clashes in Mt. Elgon

Contact: Kenya Red Cross Society, (254-20) 603593/608681/13; 0722-206958 cell, 0733-333040 cell,


NAIROBI, Kenya, April 30 /Standard Newswire/ -- Four months after the clashes in Mt. Elgon began in December 2006, people are still living in fear with more getting displaced and more deaths experienced. In a most unlikely turn of events, the nation has been experiencing a surge of violence in various parts of the country. The most recent clashes were experienced in Tana River and Meru Districts.


Tension is still rife Mt. Elgon area. The number of displaced people has been on the increase especially in Cheptais and Kapsokwony divisions. According to Kenya Red Cross Society, a total of 158 people have died so far due to the clashes while 120 have been wounded. In the latest swell of violence, six people were killed in Trans Nzoia District and this incident was linked to Mt. Elgon clashes. In addition, one person was killed in Kopsiro, one found dead in Kapkateny and four were killed in cattle related disputes in Kapkong. Approximately 66,816 people (11,136 families) have been left homeless so far following the clashes. Out of these, 9515 families have been displaced in Mt. Elgon while 1621 families have been displaced in Bungoma.


Some of the more able families have moved to Kitale and Transmara districts.There have been several reported cases of cattle rustling in the district both in Cheptais and Kopsiro divisions. The communities continue to live in fear since a night hardly passes without them experiencing gunshots.


More people continue to be affected by change of climate and malnutrition related cases. The number of deaths by these reasons remains 43 and these were reported in Kimabole, Cheptais, Kimaswa, Tuikut, Kebei and Kopsiro land "B"areas.Some of the death cases especially children, have not been reported or registered at the hospital and been buried within the community.


The internally displaced persons (IDPs) have looked for alternative settlements among their relatives or rental houses in the market centres. A one roomed house can house about 5 families and this indicates that shelter is a major problem. Some residents have requested to be settled in camps since it is becoming increasingly difficult to live with relatives or pay rent. However, the security forces don't encourage organized grouping/camping of IDPs for security reasons and this makes it very difficult for the families to cope with their situation. With the escalation of the clashes, the current number of IDPs is expected to increase further. Tension has gripped the area as more people continue to live in fear of further attacks.


Health facilities have been strained beyond their capacity with many health workers abandoning their duties and migrating to neighbouring Kimilili and Bungoma districts where they operate from daily to their work stations at Kapsokwony.There are limited health facilities and personnel in the health centres, compelling the few health workers to work round the clock to attend to the patients. Some, like Kimabole and Kopsiro are reported not to be operating at all. 110 cases of separated families as a result of the conflict have also been reported especially in Kapkateny in Kapsokwony division.


Security personnel have been sent to Trans Nzoia District following the fighting that took place. According to the National Society's assessment reports the area has remained calm and people were not moving out of the area except one who was seen packing his luggage into a truck. Some IDPs were reported to have fled to Kitale (830 people according to the area chief) the list is with the District Officer. They will be included in the 2nd phase of distribution, if found genuine.