Red Cross forced out of Baringo by hostile residents – VIDEO
The Kenya Red Cross Society has suspended all its operations in Baringo County and withdrawn all its staff and volunteers from the area following a confrontation with residents of the area, that has been marred with fighting for days now.
A statement from the humanitarian agency says its convoy of seven vehicles carrying relief food, headed to Kapedo and Lomelo in Turkana County was forced to turn back after residents confronted them and looted relief food.
The KRCS vehicles were carrying 96.8 metric tonnes of relief food comprising of maize flour, pulses, cooking oil and salt was blocked by the residents and forced to turn back to Marigat.
Secretary General Abbas Gullet says the confrontation ensued at a roadblock erected by youths who accused his staff for giving food support to neighbouring community despite presenting a waybill that clearly indicated the food was destined for Turkana county.
The attack came just a day after Mr Gullet appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in the ongoing conflict in Baringo County.
SAFETY OF STAFF
“It is with a heavy heart that the Kenya Red Cross Society announces the suspension of our activities in Baringo county, as we can no longer guarantee the safety of our staff, volunteers and resources,” Gullet said.
“Our staff and volunteers were threatened by residents despite our assurance that the consignment was headed to Turkana county, and had nothing to do with the current inter-clan conflict in Baringo county,” he added.
Gullet said Kenya Red Cross Society may only resume operations when both the National government and the Baringo County government guarantee the safety of its staff, volunteers and resources.
“Never in the history of Kenya Red Cross Society, have we ever been held hostage. We have always had access to all areas due to our neutrality and impartiality, during all crisis and emergencies,” he said.