Resettlement of IDPs begins in Rift Valley

The resettlement of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) began on 5 May in Kenya's Rift Valley Province under a government campaign dubbed "Operation Rudi Nyumbani" (go back home).

"The operation kicked off well; it was launched in Kachibora in Cherangany and also in Molo [all in the Rift Valley]," Eric Kiraithe, the police spokesman, told IRIN on 5 May. "The military was on hand to transport those who were willing to go home."

Kiraithe said the police were ensuring that all IDPs returning home were protected. He said the initial phase of the resettlement programme was expected to last about a month.

Ali Mohammed, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Special Programmes, launched the resettlement programme in Cherangany.

However, many IDPs were reluctant to return home despite assurances by government officials that security had been boosted.

In a statement, spokesman Alfred Mutua said the government was committed to resettling all IDPs who had fled their homes after post-election violence in parts of the country in January and February.

"The government expects the momentum of the exercise to increase as days go by," Mutua said.

At least 1,200 people died and up to 350,000 were displaced when violence erupted in parts of the country, mostly in Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces, following the announcement of the outcome of presidential elections held on 27 December.