Lamu IDP’s vow not to leave camps unless compensated

Katsaka Kairu IDP camp which is the largest in Lamu county. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu,KENYA:Terror IDPs in Lamu have vowed not to go back to their homes despite assurances that their villages are now safe and free from Alshabaab attacks.

Early last week,Lamu county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo announced that security had been restored in all the affected villages and urged the IDPs to now go back and pick up their lives.

They had vowed not to move out of the camp until the government compensates them for the time spent and also the loss they incurred in their farms back home while at the camp.

Following Alshabaab attacks in Pandanguo,Jima,Poromoko and Maleli several months ago,villagers fled and neighboring villages to IDP camps in Katsaka Kairu and at the Witu AIC church.

The Katsak Kairu camp is the largest and holds up to over 2500 people while the one at the Witu AIC church holds around 500 IDPs.

Villagers of Kakathe,Nyongoro, Taa and Boramoyo found themselves as IDPs after they were asked to leave their villages in order to pave way for a security operation meant to flush out Alshabaab militants from within and around their villages.

However despite the security assurances the IDPs have refused to barge saying they aren’t confident with the security situation back home while at the same time demanding compensation for time spent at the camps and resources lost back home while they lived as IDPs.

Their spokesperson Simon Mgumba said their crops back home had been destroyed by wild animals while their homes were looted dry and that as such they had nothing to go back to.

Mgumba said they need to be compensated so that they be able to start over once they leave the camps but that without compensation,they wont leave.

He said it was unfortunate that the government had started cutting down on aid to the camps and that as such their lives were becoming very uncomfortable.

“We are just asking them to give us something to go and begin our lives with.Just telling us to back home isn’t enough.We don’t have food their,we have lost our household items after homes were broken into.We don’t know where to start.Here at the camps,we are no longer getting supllies as frequently as we used to and we know that’s meant to make us go away but we wont,”said Mgumba.

Ruth Saanyu,an IDP at the Katsaka Kairu camp says its selfish and heartless for the government to ask them to go back home empty handed knowing very well they have nothing back there.

The mother of four said it was unfair that the government compensated the PEV IDPs of 2007 back then but was finding it hard to do the same for them yet they were all IDPs faced with similar challenges.

“We are literally beggars.We wont make it without the government’s help.I don’t understand why its hard for them to do it for us like they did it for the IDPs of the post election violence back the.Are some IDPs more special than others,”said Saanyu.