BY COAST NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT
The government has issued a stern warning for those unknown assailants killing the elderly people in Kilifi and Kwale counties on baseless accusations of being sorcerers or witches.
John Elungata, Coast regional commissioner (RC), warned those lynching aged people or those suspected to be witches and sorcerers that their days are numbered and would ‘soon’ face the full force of the law.
“Residents here (Magarini) should stop killing the elderly people on outdated, primitive and illegal accusations that they cannot prove in the court of law,” he cautioned.
More than 100 aged residents have been killed under ‘unclear circumstances’ sparking an exodus of the elderly people from their homesteads to seek solace and ‘safe havens’ for their dear lives in the two counties.
Age, grey hair and red eyes have become the license for a death sentence by the accusing youths who drive such senior citizens out of their homestead on allegations of practising witchcraft and behind misfortunes or calamities within community settings.
Mr Elungata, during a public baraza in Magarini Subcounty of Kilifi, disclosed that the ongoing killings were as a result of land feuds and not witchcraft as being propagated by those behind them.
“It’s unfortunate that grey-haired elders are currently living in fear or hidings for their dear lives as the locals hunt them down over witchcraft claims,” he said.
The RC added that last year (2020) alone 60 elderly people lost their lives under the hands of close relatives following bitter land disputes in Kilifi.
He said stern action will be taken against those perpatrating such heinous acts of taking the law unto their own hands and killing others out of mere suspicion of being involvement in witchcraft.
The administrator added that beatings and killings of elderly people was outright contravention of the law and those perpetuating them would face the wrath of the law.
He directed chiefs and their assistants to act tough against those killing elderly men in their localities.
Magarini ward MCA Renson Kambi said the elderly have become vulnerable and a target of irrational witch-hunts and deserve protection and support.
He said the killings are getting out of hand and there is a need to give law and order a chance to take its course.
A member of the Coastal Kaya Council of Elders Tsuma Nzai said they operate two rescue centers for the elderly fleeing the callous killings in Sabaki in Malindi subcounty and Kaya Godoma in Magarini sub county.
Nzai said the refuge centres were set up by the Kaya Council of Elders to protect the old from people who want to harm them.