News 2008


Three More Killed in Flare-Up

The Nation (Nairobi)

8 March 2008

Nation Team


Three more people were shot dead on Friday morning as confrontation between two communities escalated in Laikipia West District.

Scores of others were seriously wounded while the number of houses torched rose to more than 500.

The killings brought the death toll to nine since last weekend.

Among Friday's victims were two teachers, a pastor and a trader contracted by non-governmental organisations to supply relief food.

Pastor Michael Kariuki of Neno Evangelism was shot as he led his family in prayers.

Mr Mwangi, a teacher at Magomano Primary School, which has since been closed, was felled as he dashed out alongside his elder son at Mutamaiyu village.

District commissioner Julius Mutula said the death toll may be higher as more bodies could be lying in bushes.

Tension remained high in five volatile villages worst hit by the clashes, sparked by cattle rustling in the past two months.

The raiders, armed with machetes, arrows and guns, torched houses despite the presence of security officers on patrol in the vast plains of Laikipia.

The Saturday Nation team found an elderly man instructing warriors how to counter-attack at Ol-Munyu village.

More than 300 families have fled the area and are camping at Rumuruti Police Station and Gatundia Police Post. Others are in Nyahururu Town, 20 kilometres west of the affected zone.

"More than 500 raiders have unleashed terror for two nights. The Government is losing the war on crime in this region," said Mr Munyiri Mutitu, a former councillor.

Mr Batholomew Enkari, a local pastor said the war was being waged by criminals from far-flung areas.

The DC said more police officers had been deployed to the area.

In Marsabit District, three people have been killed in the past two days in renewed fighting between two rival communities.

Two of the victims were shot dead on Thursday, prompting revenge by the rival community during which a person was killed on Friday.

Gun fire rent the air at Songa village in Central Division as militiamen from the two communities engaged each other in drawn out shootout.

At least five people were injured during the fighting 16 kilometres from Marsabit Town.

A source at the village said rivalry between the two communities was renewed last week after two men from the two communities fought over a woman.

One of the men was killed at the weekend, prompting his kinsmen to avenge the killing.

"People are still fighting even now. They have been doing so since morning when reports of deaths reached the whole village," a man who was at the scene but sought anonymity told the Saturday Nation on Friday.

The provincial security team feigned ignorance with a senior police officer denying knowledge of the fighting.

Contacted last evening, Eastern provincial police officer Joseph Koskei said he was not aware of the fighting. "Where is the fight and when did it start?" he asked.

He said he would have been "the first person to be informed if there was a conflict of any nature."

The officer said his office had not received any such report from Marsabit district.