Kenya: Rev. William Kebeney: "We need to stop the violence affecting future generations"

ELDORET, 4 May 2007 (IRIN) - Reverend William Kebeney is a cleric working with the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya in Kipsigon, Kopsiro, one of four administrative divisions in the strife-torn Mt Elgon district, near the Kenyan border with Uganda.

Kebeney deals with the spiritual and health needs (the church runs a health centre) of the affected people but talked to IRIN about the other needs, those not often addressed.

So far, at least 158 deaths have been reported in the district because of inter-communal fighting over land, according to humanitarian agencies.

"Due to the fighting, many people have been displaced in addition to losing their livestock and property.

"However, although aid agencies have responded to the needs of the people by offering food and healthcare, there is a need for capacity-building on issues of counselling and dealing with trauma to help the affected people come to terms with reality.

"Some have lost relatives and are deeply traumatised.

"If we can get agencies to train people in medical and psychological counselling skills this would be good; as they treat the affected they counsel them.

"There is also a need for the people to get assistance to rebuild their lives when peace eventually returns. This would be possible if an organisation was established to provide loans for the people to rebuild their lives and start small-scale income-generating activities.

"Most importantly, however, there is a need for sustained peace-building efforts to encourage the Sabaots [the clans within this community at the centre of the fighting] to live in peace and to stop killing each other.

"If that is not done I do not think these people can live as neighbours and this will affect future generations."