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In Kenya, tribal clashes claim lives, force church members from homes

Church members lost their homes, crops and possessions as recent violence forced nearly 30,000 people from their land in western Kenya, said Fielden Allison, a former missionary to the region.
“At lest nine of the churches we worked with are not meeting,” Allison said. “The Christians have moved away out of fear.”
Tribal conflicts have forced church members from their homes in the Mount Elgon region, Allison said. The tension dates back to 1989, when the Kenyan government forced many of Mount Elgon’s people, the Saboat, to abandon their farms to make room for other Saboat people who claimed they were the land’s original inhabitants, Allison said.
Conflicts among the groups have been common ever since, he said, but recently “the occasional skirmishes turned into outright fighting.”
Allison and his wife, Janet, worked in Keny a for more than 30 years – nearly half of them among the Saboat – before moving to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, recently to serve as missionaries there.
The couple traveled to Mount Elgon. A man who had worked for the couple died as rioters damaged the Kapkirwok Primary School, where he sought refuge. Looteers also stole typewriters and equipment the Allisons had left in Mount Elgon to help the Saboat people.
Church members in nearby Kopsiro and Kapsokwony have formed a committee to help those in need recieve aid.
“They will interview the needy people and select those who are refugees, who are not farming and who do not have a salary or income,” Allison said.
The Allisons plan to return to the region in October to distribute additional aid.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to contribute to relief efforts, contact the Monmouth, N.J., church at (732)747-5193.

Filed under: International Staff Reports

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