From Asif: MOLO - KENYA
- Asif, Please send letters or news as below to Holistic Helping or Nafsi
Afrika Saana or another group rather than Mendenyo. You are a leader at
our lab so we need your help to build momentum at our less active groups
and leave our most active groups for newcomers. And I invite you to lead
your own group at our lab where you can have as much traffic as you like.
Thank you for your letters! Andrius
MOLO, 12 December 2007 (IRIN) - Revenge attacks, rumours, inaccurate media
reports and provocative public statements by politicians have fuelled
hostilities in Kenya's New Molo district, where clashes have displaced
thousands of people and caused dozens of deaths, according to a government
"As a result of the tension among the three communities in the district,
opportunists have taken advantage of the fluidity of the situation to fuel
hostilities," Mohamud Salim, the district commissioner, told a UN
delegation in Molo town.
"The problem now is that many people have fled their homes," he said. "We
do not have an exact number of the displaced as we are still collecting
the data but many of the IDPs [internally displaced persons] are now in at
least 20 sites in and around Molo town."
Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) estimates that at least 3,000 families, or
15,000 people, have been displaced in the violence. At least 500 IDPs have
sought refuge at a church compound, a few metres from the DC's office.
“I fled my home more than a week ago together with my husband and four
children. We slept in the open the first night at Keringet police
station,” Ann Wacu, 24, said. She is one of the IDPs at the Apostolic
Clashes erupted in the district in late September, following accusations
and counter-accusations among the three communities, the Kalenjin, Kikuyu
and Kisii. Since then, at least 24 people have been killed, hundreds of
houses burnt and thousands of people displaced.
Salim said the problems facing the IDPs included poor sanitation, lack of
adequate shelter and food.
Political observers trace the tension and suspicion among the three
communities to 1992, also an election year, when politicians incited the
groups against each another, promising them the land of their neighbours,
who they attacked before fleeing.
"I don't call them tribal clashes because these people have co-existed
together peacefully for a long time," Salim said. "The current tension is
due to the tribal mentality that took root in 1992 and has made the
communities lose trust and respect amongst one another. When someone
commits a crime, that person should be dealt with as an individual, not
KRCS, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-Spain) and local government officials
are providing relief aid to the displaced, most of whom have fled to urban
areas in the district.
In a bid to reduce the violence, public meetings with local leaders have
been held while security has been beefed up with an increase in the number
of police in the district.
Jeanine Cooper, head of the Kenya office of the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who led the inter-agency
mission to Molo, said the purpose of the visit was to support efforts
towards conflict-resolution and peace-building on the ground.
"Insecurity is a product of violence and fear, so even when you don’t have
violence, the same displacement of people could occur because of fear,"
she said. "As the UN, we'll put together a joint programme on conflict and
displacement for the areas affected by conflict in the country and this
trip will guide what we do in the programme.”
She said the situation in Molo required both short-term solutions, such as
emergency response to the IDPs' needs, and long-term interventions, such
as peace-building and civilian protection.
"We hope to design a programme in the next few weeks to tackle the
short-term needs as well as put in place plans for the long-term
interventions," she said.