Food Aid Reaches Kenyan Refugees in Uganda Border Towns
|Scenes like this burning slum on the outskirts of Kericho have prompted several thousand Kenyans to cross the nearby border into Uganda|
KAMPALA, 4 January 2008 (IRIN) -Food relief for an estimated 2,000 Kenyan refugees who crossed the border into east Uganda when they fled post election violence has started to arrive, government officials said.
Musa Ecweru, a Ugandan minister in charge of refugees and disaster preparedness, told IRIN that an estimated two tonnes of maize meal and about 600 kilograms of beans were delivered on 4 January to the refugees at the make-shift reception centres set up in the compounds of St Jude and Koitangiro primary schools along the border.
He said: “We are using the two primary schools in Busia and Malaba as we assess the situation and determine whether we have to move them further inland as required by international law.
According to Ecweru, the government has experienced problems transporting food because of the scarcity of fuel following the blockade of routes from Kenya’s main port of Mombasa to Uganda. “I looked around and mobilised some fuel to deliver the food. We hope the situation improves so that we can be able to deliver this food more easily,” he said, adding that other agencies have also been brought on board to help.
Many of the displaced tell gruesome tales of violence back in Kenya, he added, including one mother of three who watched on helpless as two of her children were hacked to death and her shops were burnt down during fighting in Bungoma, in Kenya’s Western Province. “I saw a situation of desperation in this lady exacerbated by anger and what she describes will never leave her memory for her entire life,” Ecweru said.
Dubbed one of Kenya’s closest-ever elections, the 27 December presidential polls ended with a controversial win for incumbent Mwai Kibaki, but opposition leader Raila Odinga rejected the results, triggering violence across Kenya.
Much of the fighting has been committed by civilians and has so far generally targetted members of Kibaki’s Kikuyu ethnic group and others that support him politically.