Survivors of bandit attacks in Baringo have been reduced to eating wild fruits and appealing for relief food.
They live in abject poverty after the bandits swept away their livestock, their main source of livelihood.
To make matters worse, the prolonged December-March drought killed most of their crops.
“The hunger is now pushing us to feed on wild fruits,” Gladys Chelimo, 40, said in Chemoe village, Baringo North.
She was holding some bitter wild fruits locally known as ‘Ngosiek’ and ‘Sarich’, which were boiled almost the whole day with plenty of water for consumption.
“Nobody seems to help salvage our situation. We can’t remember even the last time the government supplied us with relief food,” Chelimo said.
Tales of loss are shared around the village. Since 2013, Penina Korir has lost 200 goats to bandits. Jackson Katigit has lost 43.
Tuluk sublocation assistant chief Daniel Kiptui said the locals are really struggling to put food on the table.
Last week, Tiaty MP William Kamket and his Baringo Central counterpart Joshua Kandie requested the government and well-wishers to urgently supply the hungry population with relief food.
They attributed the dire situation to insecurity and prolonged drought due to the failure of rains since December last year.
“Our people are in urgent need of relief food before they die of hunger,” Kamket said.
He said thousands of children are malnourished due to food shortage and poor diets.
“When residents in the neighbouring county like Turkana cry of hunger, immediately, trucks of relief food are transported, while we in Baringo are left out,” Kamket said.
Kandie also pushed for the resumption of the school feeding programme to retain the hungry children in schools, especially those learning in arid and semi-arid land areas.
“It is so inhuman and shameful to hear someone dies of hunger in our country in this century, so the government should watch out,” he said.
Kamket asked the government to call off the ongoing security operation, saying the restricted movement and police roadblocks are causing much suffering to innocent people.
“Hunger is killing our people in their homes because they cannot walk out or travel to look for food elsewhere to feed their families. Women, innocent children and the unborn are left suffering a lot,” he said.
He said the bandits are just a few notorious individuals whose names are already known to the government.
“Numerous illegal guns have been seized from the hands of the locals but the government still insists on a massive operation. What for?” he said.
National Drought Management Authority county coordinator Bethuel Wafula said the hunger situation has so far affected a large population.
He said subcounties affected are Baringo North, Tiaty, Mogotio, Baringo South and some parts of Baringo Central.
“Tiaty is worst hit due to the ongoing security operation and restriction of movement,” Wafula said.