Hundreds of ethnic Somali pastoralists are fleeing Pangani in Mpeketoni for fear of retaliation after the massacre that hit the area two weeks ago. Independent sources yesterday said the pastoralists are fleeing to Tana River County after allegedly receiving threats of retaliation by people they claim are blaming them for the Mpeketoni massacre. Several MPs among them Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa and Othaya’s Mary Wambui visited Mpeketoni and addressed the residents at the township’s Uhuru Gardens on Saturday. Kenya Red Cross (KRC) has not given reasons for the flight but a Government official claimed that the pastoralists have expressed fear over an impending disarmament exercise. KRC Malindi and Magarini Coordinator Hassan Musa confirmed that the pastoralists were fleeing their homes in droves. “There is mass exodus by the pastoralist communities living in Pangani to Tana River County,” he said but did not provide the exact numbers.
Musa said the fleeing communities have not established any camp in the neighboring county. Mass exodus “Most of those fleeing have joined their relatives in Tana River but we are monitoring the situation to establish if there is need of establishing an IDP camp to host them,” he said. Assistant County Commissioner in charge of Mpeketoni Benson Maisori claimed those fleeing are fearing that the Government will soon launch a forceful disarmament exercise. Mr. Maisori said intelligence reports indicated that a section of the Somali community living in the area hosted the Mpeketoni attackers. “A section of the community knows the attackers and even hosted before the attack,” he claimed.
Source: Standard Newspaper 01/07/2014