Begging for survival – “I have attended the burials of more than 60 people in the past six months”
Posted by African Press International on April 7, 2012
KENYA: Abdi Adan,” Right now, I am a beggar with no home”
ISOLO, – Abdi Adan, an ethnic Somali living in Kenya’s central region of Isiolo, which has recently seen clashes between the Borana, Somali and Turkana communities and the displacement of thousands of people, tells IRIN about his experience of the violence.
“I will always remember the past year’s events, the killing of family members, friends, neighbours and many residents of my village, Kampi Garba [2km from Isiolo town].
“These days, I spend most of the day mourning with relatives and families whose father, mother or son has been killed.
“About 10 minutes ago, I attended the burial of a teacher who was killed yesterday [28 March] at Kilimani village [in Isiolo]; I helped to dig the grave. This is not the first, and I am afraid most likely not the last, burial I will attend. I have attended the burials of more than 60 people in the past six months.
“I am afraid to attend more burials, it could be a close family member; anything is possible in Isiolo now.
“I almost lost my [six] children, and the seven children of my late brother who was abducted by bandits last month [February] and killed, on the most painful day in my life – the day I lost all my camels and my house was burnt.
“It’s painful to lose – in less than five minutes – livestock and property that you have struggled to accumulate for more than 20 years.
“I worked as a herder, moved to town, started operating as a livestock trader and broker and managed to build this house and bought the camels. But right now, I am a beggar with no home, no property and worst of all without clothes.
“I live like a wild animal, worse than a bird which is sure [of] where to get its food and shelter. At the moment, I have moved my children and my late brother’s children to relatives’ and clan members’ houses in Bullapesa [Isiolo], which is safe. They stay in four different houses, while I stay in a friend’s kitchen with my wife; we have been separated by circumstances. I never imagined that I would lead this kind of life.
“The skirmishes in Isiolo have affected my life, diminished my status. I am a beggar because my children rely on relatives and clan members to feed them. They get very little and are not comfortable.
“My children have not attended school for the last three months; three of them have said they are no longer interested in going back to school. They are still shocked and not ready to go back to Kambi Garba.
“More than 20 houses have been burnt [in] our village. Many people have fled to town; we all need assistance… shelter, tents and food. The few lucky people are selling their animals to rent houses in town, while many families have fled far away from Isiolo.
“A truck [loaded] with 200 bags of rice for distribution to the displaced families was at Nomad Village, less than 200m away on [29 March] morning but we were unable to get the food because it’s impossible to move past Gaza Strip, the boundary between us and the Turkana ethnic group.”