558 victims of Somali bandits demand payout for deadly raids

Five-hundred-fifty-eight residents of Mwingi Central have sued the government to compensate them for attacks by Somali bandits. They are seeking unspecified compensation for loss of life, injury, displacement, destruction of property and stolen livestock.

About 100 representatives of the victims arrived in Kitui in two buses and filed suit at the High Court on Tuesday. They came from the banditry- prone areas of Mwanzele, Sosoma, Ngooni, Ukasi, Musovo and Wingemi. Led by their backer and former Works PS Gideon Mulyungi, the victims were joined by MCAs from Nguni, Nuu, Mwingi Central and KIvou wards.

They staged a peaceful demonstration in Kitui town streets. The protest ended at the High Court, where the suit was filed by lawyer Kyania Nzili. Mulyungi, a Wiper aspirant for the Mwingi Central seat, told the media he empathised with victims who had suffered from mindless violence for years.

He criticised the Jubilee government for failing in its responsibility to protect people’s lives and their property. Mulyungi said 31 residents have been killed since last year by the Somali bandits invading Kitui county. He said they are armed with rifles but disguised as herders.

More than 2,000 people in 365 families have been displaced, he said.Mulyungi said 362 cows, goats and donkeys have been driven away. Ten schools have been closed because of violence. The politician said that a month ago, the government was given an ultimatum to restore peace and security and compensate victims — to no avail.

“We have taken legal action because of the government’s inaction. Victims of the banditry felt marginalized and discriminated against since other victims of the Baringo and Pokot conflict have been compensated,” Mulyungi said.

He promised he is ready to spend his last penny in pursuing the court case to ensure justice for all. Mulyungi also promised to follow up on the victims’ full compensation and restore peace. He said all the Somali herders invading their land should be ordered out of Kitui county and the Mwanzele camp.

Mulyungi said the camp is a bandit hideout and should be flattened. Its occupiers should be driven away.