Mpeketoni residents flee town in wake of massacre
17 June 2014, 18:59
Nairobi - Residents of Mpeketoni are fleeing the town as the fallout from the attack which has left over 60 dead and many others missing continues.
The residents are running away even as security forces comb the town and try ensure safety and normalcy returns to the town.
With many dead and others missing, Halima Omar, who watched as her neighbours were slaughtered says she is heading to Mombasa to stay with relatives.
" It was bad.. Very bad. There were no men in my house so I and my daughter were spared from attack. I am heading to Mombasa to seek help from relatives she said as she awaited transport.
Others headed to Lamu and some, fearing Lamu, which is not far from Mpeketoni was not safe have headed north towards Malindi instead.
" I am going to Malindi until things calm down, Geoffrey Mungai who has lived in Mpeketoni for five years said.
After what happened, I cannot sleep and pretend that things are okay. That would be a lie, he added.
For others like Edward Murage who has lived in the town for 27 years, he has nowhere else to go.
" This is my home and where I have settled. Where do I go to? he asked.
He said that he had lost over 15 friends in the attack and says he too would have died had he not been able to hear the cries of victims in advance.
" I live a slight distance away from the town centre so when I heard the gunshots, I called a friend who was watching football in town and he told me to go hide. I climbed above my roof for safety, he said.
For many, the fact that secondary attacks took place in the outskirts of the town just a day after the first attack is proof that they are not safe.
" The government said it would ensure safety but just a day later there were further deaths. What are we supposed to think?, Murage asked.
He said he would be headed to Mombasa to live with a relative for the time being.
The town at the moment resembles a scene from a cowboy movie, a shattered and wrecked town with the smell of death hanging over it.
Interior cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku had earlier in the day tried his best to convince area residents that they are safe but he was jeered as he spoke.
" You are not serious with our lives, residents shouted while he spoke.
By Tuesday evening, the town was filled with KDF soldiers and Administration Police, looking to restore calm to the tense area.
There had still been no reports of arrests made by the police with some officers saying that the gangsters had already crossed into Somalia.
" We hear they have crossed over but there is still an search ongoing, a KDF officer who did not want to be named told News24.
For residents of the small, hospitable town though, the memories of the attack will long live in their minds.
" We will never forget it. This nice town will forever be remembered for this one sad incident.
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