Women and children hard hit by Tana River conflict

Women and children bear the brunt of conflict in Tana River. Majority are currently living in camps at Hurara primary school in Magarini. [Photo: Yusuf Amin]
Women and children bear the brunt of conflict in Tana River. Majority are currently living in camps at Hurara primary school in Magarini. [Photo: Yusuf Amin]

The frequent inter-communal clashes in Tana River and Kilifi county borders always leave women and children reeling in pain.

Besides being raped, the attackers destroy property in the wake of killing husbands and fathers.

 More than 700 women and 300 children who managed to escape from the conflict, and being victims of mass displacement are currently held up at Hurara Primary School in Magarini where they fled after clashes erupted along the border of the two counties.

According to Pauline Wambura, the attackers wanted to rape her but she was able to flee to Hurara Primary School where she found other women and children who had already escaped from the killers.

“The situation was very bad, men who were armed with pangas (machetes), bows and arrows invaded my house, harassed me and wanted to rape me,” she said in a recent interview at the camp.

Vulnerable

According to Wambura women suffered most as majority were left behind with their children.

Wambura notes that they spent the whole night in the bushes and they were rescued by security officers who had come to save them from the killers.

Kadzo Mbogo, who was among the displaced said her children were affected psychologically since they watched as their mother was roughed up by the attackers.

Mbogo added that they are still in shock and they needed a lot of counselling before they can recover from the vicious attack.

At the camp, the children have to contend with many challenges that range from lack of food, mosquito nets and diseases.

She further said life at the camp is miserable but they cannot risk going back to their homes since they may be targeted for attack.

Kadzo said that the Government should intervene and ensure security in the area.

Security

Kilifi county commissioner Joseph Keter who visited the camp said the Government has beefed up security along the Tana River and Kilifi counties’ border.

 Keter who chairs the security committee said more police officers had been deployed in the area to avert any possible attacks.

Keter challenged the public to expose the perpetrators of violence in their midst.

Sidi Kadhengi says she escaped death by a whisker after seeing three men being beaten by the attackers who also turned on and threatened to kill her.

“They tied me with my leso (wrapper) and threatened to kill me but I requested to be allowed to pray. When I finished praying, they had fled,” says Kadhengi as she recounted the incident.

Tana River County has faced a lot of clashes and most of the times women and children are the most affected.

Kilifi county commander Douglas Kanja promised that the attackers will be arrested soon since the police are in the forests looking for them.

Kanja also cautioned the residents against being incited by politicians.