Uncovered Iron ore exploration pits return to haunt Kilifi village

One of the exploration pits left behind by the exploration firm PHOTO COURTESY

Three pits  left behind by an iron ore exploration company have returned to haunt a village in Kilifi county more than 20 years since the exploration was halted.

What would have been a blessing for the sleepy village located in the semi-arid Ganze sub county has now turned into a curse that has been swallowing the villagers livestock.

The three 50 feet pit holes are located in Jaribuni village of Ganze sub county and the villagers say the pit holes become deeper whenever it rains .

According to the villagers, a Mombasa based company that was exploring for iron ore from 1987 to 1997 left the pits uncovered .

According to Edward Kenga, a landowner in the area, the pits have forced residents to abandon their pieces of land after they became too risky.

“We have lost our livestock after some of them strayed into the pits”Kenga said.

Another villager Moses Ndolo said children schooling at the nearby Charter Primary school in Marere have been forced to walk long distances to avoid risking their lives.

Some of the pit holes are located close to the school while another one is located close to a road.

The villagers have accused the Kilifi county government and the national government of neglecting their pleas to have the pits covered.

According to Kilifi environmental activist Caston Chivatsi ,the community had requested the parliamentary environment committee to send a geologist to the area to asses on what measures could be done to solve the problem, however no step was ever taken.

“It is unfortunate because those pits have put the people of Jaribuni under great risk.And our calls to have an environment expert survey the area have gone unanswered” Chivatsi said.

Last year, Kauma deputy county commissioner Mohamed Mwabudzo said that the national government was set to engage different stakeholders to see what would be done to solve the problem.