Counties

MPs want Isiolo gold miners spared in security operations

mps

Isiolo North MP Hassan Hulufo [L] and Isiolo Woman Rep Rehema Jaldesa [R] address the media at parliament buildings on May 4, 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

MPs want the State not to evict more than 4,500 poor families who earn a living from artisanal gold mining following a security operation in the troubled parts of northern Kenya.

The MPs, drawn from Isiolo county, claimed the government is targeting to evict the poor residents who depend on mining for livelihood.

“We are aware there are external forces that have tried to close down the Durte mining centre in the past and may misdirect the security operation from flushing out armed bandits to unleashing mayhem on innocent natives eking a living from their community land,” the MPs said.

The lawmakers said Durte mining village forms part of a sublocation that the Interior ministry declared a disturbed area.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last week issued a gazette notice declaring Kom sublocation in Isiolo county and the entire Mandera county as a disturbed area.

Mr Matiang’i also declared a dawn-to-dusk curfew and mounted a 30-day security operation to flush out armed bandits.

“We requested a security operation to flush out the rogue bandits from the neighbouring counties but our fear is that it is being misdirected at poor artisanal miners,” Isiolo North MP Hassan Hulufo said.

Addressing the press at Parliament buildings alongside Isiolo Women Representative Rehema Jaldesa, the lawmakers said Durte mining village has over 4,500 residents from different parts of the country who are engaged in informal artisanal gold mining.

The MPs argued artisanal mining is not illegal in law and that flushing out the miners would worsen the residents' situation.

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