Urgent work for Human Rights
Investigators at Mt Elgon
09. Feb. 2008 - WTN
As PNU and ODM fight it out, who actually won the 2007 elections
in Kenya, the Ogiek of Mt Elgon continue to be raped and maimed by
the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), aka Saboti Land Defence
Force, a rag-tag militia of heavily armed Bok, who have taken over
the Mt Elgon regions.
Work for United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Investigators at Mt Elgon is paramount and urgent.
Latest reports of today confirm that five Ogiek were maimed by
marauding SLDF and one woman gang-raped by SLDF members on 7 Feb.
08 at Toboo. The Ogiek victims, who are currently at hospital due
to machete cuts, are Mr Cheprot Chelasha, Mr Patrick Masai and Ms
Nelly Chemutai. The lady who was gang-raped is Sarah Chepkemoi and
is now admitted at Kitale District Hospital
The Ogiek have also lost some of the cattle, which had earlier
been confiscated by the Police and taken to Kitale Police Station.
It is understood the Police have slaughtered ten Bulls which would
have fetched KShs 35,000.00 per bull, thus further distressing the
already impoverished Ogiek. The following Ogiek lost cattle to the
Police: Mr Sukuku Kiriongi, Mr Kapche Langat, Mr Samuken Makusta.
Several goats were also stolen and eaten by the Police.
Many Ogiek, who had gone to sell their cattle at the lowlands in
exchange for food have therefore not been accounted for and we
call upon the International Community to put pressure on the Kenya
Government to ensure that the Mt Elgon District Commissioner and
the Trans-Nzoia-West District Commissioner give security and safe
passage to the Ogiek who are currently holed up at Saboti Police
Station, Kapraina Farm, John Paul Farm and adjacent farms.
The spokesperson from Chepkitale Indigenous Peoples' Development
Programme (CIPDP) pointed out that these people need to be
transported to Chepkitale to join their kinsmen. He fears that
these peoples will be exterminated if urgent rescue measures are
not taken. He demands that humanitarian agencies like MSF, who
have been providing medical assistance at Laboot and Chepoogweny,
must be given free passage and security to go to Chepkitale in
order to assist there too. Also the Red Cross and other
organizations must be allowed access and must be safeguarded to
provide humanitarian assistance, Jeff Simotwo stated.
“Suffice to say that since Sep 2006 Ogiek Children have not
accessed their school and we call upon the Government to open
temporary Schools at Laboot, Kapchepkelda, Tomooi and Toboo. The
Ogiek teachers numbering thirty can assist. Meanwhile we are
calling on volunteer teachers to come to us and help out."
Possibly taking advantage of the chaos witnessed after the polls,
there are reports that the Mt Elgon area has spawned three other
militia groups, further complicating the security situation in the
area. These have been formed to counter the Saboti Land Defence
Force which controls Kopsiro and Cheptais divisions. The new
groups are the 'Janjaweed Militia', the 'Moorland Defence Forces'
and the 'Progressive Defence Force' all reportedly allied to rival
local politicians. The Saboti militia, while initially active in
Mt Elgon, recently spread its attacks to Bungoma and Trans Nzoia
districts. It has also started taxing people in the area it
controls. However, following displacement of people in the area,
the militia is raiding cattle in neighbouring districts for sale
in Uganda in return for bullets and other supplies. With the entry
of the other militia groups, the situation will be complicated and
could undermine the state of security in the surrounding areas.