Scars of Terror: Mpeketoni survivors tell of government neglect
And as the country commemorates one year since the attack this Sunday, the survivors feel their plight has been ignored, if not forgotten and want the government to intervene and help them rebuild their lives.
David Mbukiza, one of the known survivors of the attack, says his escape from death was nothing short of a miracle, terming each decision they made that night as vital.
“We were in a video hall, in Mpeketoni town, to watch a football match when the attack occurred. We heard gunshots and on coming out of the hall we saw Breeze View hotel (a popular hotel in the area) on fire,” he says.
Sensing danger, Mbukiza and his friend, Anthony Charo, decided to head home on a motorcycle but their journey turned perilous when they met the attackers near the area police post.
“They had parked their Nissan near the police station. They signalled for us to stop but I told my friends to keep going,” he narrates.
“My friend used the indicators to signal that he was grinding to a halt but sped off the moment they paved way.”
The attackers pursued the two and started shooting at them, hitting Mbukiza on his right leg and Charo on the right arm.
The injuries sustained from the attack have affected Mbukiza so much that it has been difficult for him to provide for his family.
“I used to be a barber but now I cannot do that anymore because I can’t stand for long,” he recounts.
“Life has been difficult ever since because I now rely on odd jobs to earn a living.”
Mbukiza explains that he has not been able to go for check-ups because he cannot afford to travel to Mombasa, where his doctor is, and has had to stop buying medicine.
“I cannot buy medicine since I do not have the money. I have used close to Sh200,000 on treatment, medicine and dietary needs since last year but I cannot afford it anymore,” he says.
For Mr Charo, times have changed for the worst since the Mpeketoni attack and his livelihood thrown into shambles.
Charo says he cannot carry out heavy tasks because his arm is still weak after a bullet tore through it.
“I had to use my savings to take my child to secondary school after she passed her KCPE exams.”
“Life is tough now since I cannot work and have nothing else left. All I am left to do is to pick and drop my small boy to school and ensure he is safe.”
The father of two says the impact of the attack on his life has been devastating since his motorcycle, which was his main source of livelihood, was totally destroyed.
Despite Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru’s assurance that the government will support the Mpeketoni attack victims, Charo says nothing has been done.
“The government has focused on those who lost their families in the attack with the survivors being overlooked,” he laments.
“I depend on well-wishers and friends who often visit and give me whatever they can, though this is not sustainable as they too have responsibilities.”
On Sunday, therefore, as the country takes another look at the events of June 15 and remembers those who lost their lives in the attack, the survivors’ hope is that the government will help them get their lives back, if not better then at least to where they used to be.