The government has responded to the outcry of residents of Kilifi following the rising cases of attacks and killings targeting the elderly.
The Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata, ordered all chiefs in Kilifi County to take a record of persons aged 50 years and above to ensure that they have enough protection.
“All chiefs and their assistants must have a record of all persons aged 50 years and above, who have now become easy targets for attacks, and ensure that they are protected. If any of them is murdered, that will be the chiefs’ burden,” he said.Kilifi residents stage protests on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.
The commissioner who was speaking during a public rally at Kasikini village of Marafa Ward, Magarini Sub Count, said that there were more than 60 elderly persons reported to have been murdered in Kilifi County in 2020. The deaths are due to land disputes and claims of witchcraft.
“I would like to warn whoever is killing elders because of land that their days are numbered. From today, all chiefs must know the number of all persons aged 50 years and below and ensure that they are protected from harm,” Elungata said.
Elungata also said that chiefs and their assistants had the duty to ensure that the elders were safe.
He asked the government representatives at the grassroots level to work closely with the Kaya elders who have taken an initiative by setting up two rescue centers for witchcraft suspects.
Marafa Ward Representative Renson Kambi raised concerns over the killings, adding that absence of a witness protection programme had contribute to the menace.
In response to the witness protection issue, the commissioner assured residents that a programme would be initiated to ensure that no harm would befall anyone who comes forward to provide evidence.
“We would like to see even those who killed many years ago, and were acquitted after witnesses withdrew due to threats directed at them, to be rearrested immediately,” he said and ordered criminal investigation officers to start receiving statements on such cases.
Kambi had said that residents feared coming forward to make statements because the perpetrators of the crimes threatened to harm them once they are released on bond.
“It is not that residents do not know the murderers, but those who report the killers are usually threatened by the suspects due to lack of a witness protection programme,” Kambi said.
He also warned residents who committed such atrocities in the past that they will pay for their sins under the law.
"It is wrong for you to harass and kill your parent who bore and nurtured you, and then pretend to mourn them by holding grand funeral services including disco matanga,” he said.
Kutswa Olaka, the Kilifi County Commissioner said that persons with grey hair had become a target for brutal murders and such murders were alarming in the county especially at Magarini Sub County.
Olaka asked the national government to hold joint public meetings and civil education enlighten residents. He also added that the initiative to end the killings was underway.
“I am glad that one such intercessor was brought to us and a case has been opened against him. We pray that he is sentenced to 35 years or more,” he said.County Assembly of Kilifi
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