News 2008


Eight killed in renewed violence

Story by NATION Team

Publication Date: 3/12/2008

Eight people were killed Tuesday in a new wave of ethnic violence in Laikipia West and Narok South districts.

This happened even as hundreds of residents fled their homes in Mount Elgon to escape a joint police and military operation targeting militia groups in the area.

In Laikipia West, a 46-year-old woman and her three children were killed at Aiyam village as the clashes entered their seventh day.

District commissioner Julius Mutula said that the raiders shot their victims at close range before fleeing. Security personnel were tracking them down, he said.

The incident brings to 15 the number of people killed in clashes in Aiyam. The four bodies were taken to Nyahururu District Hospital mortuary.

Accused of laxity

At the same time, a member of Parliament has accused security agents of laxity in dealing with insecurity in the district.

Laikipia West MP Ndiritu Muriithi said his persistent calls on the need to strengthen security in the area had fallen on deaf ears.

Speaking at Nation Centre Tuesday, Mr Muriithi said what started as an incident of cattle theft was slowly turning into an ethnic fight.

In Narok South, four people were killed, several others injured and 125 houses torched after a fierce clash pitting members of two communities at Munyas.

Fighting started when a group of herders from Bomet District drove their livestock to Munyas, which is in Ololung’a Division of Narok South District.

Narok South DC Wilfred Nyagwanga visited the area and banned the carrying of weapons. The DC also said that no herdsmen from Bomet would be allowed to graze their livestock in farms belonging Narok South residents without the consent of the land owners.

He announced that a police station would be built at Munyas.

In Molo, residents of the clashes-torn district have been urged to surrender their arms and give dialogue a chance.

Local MP Joseph Kiuna made the remarks while addressing various peace meetings along the volatile Mau Narok-Njoro route. Renewed clashes have since claimed four lives in the area.

Speaking at Mauche trading centre where two people were slashed to death on Monday, Mr Kiuna called on village elders to spearhead the peace campaign to enable the residents to return to their farms.

In Mount Elgon, the joint police and military blitz has so far netted more than 30 suspects.

There were no reports of casualties although people have reported helicopters hovering in the area with blasts being heard from time to time. Most people hid in the forests and mountain caves, which are said to be the havens of the militia.

More than 18 schools were either partially affected or shut as pupils and teachers fled for safety.

The air-to-ground operation, which is backed by five military helicopters and armoured vehicles, was launched at dawn on Monday.

It is aimed at flushing out militiamen who have visited terror on residents of Mount Elgon and neighbouring Bungoma and Trans Nzoia districts.

The militias, who have their bases in the thick forests and caves of Kenya’s second highest mountain, include the Sabaot Land Defence Force, Moorland Forces and the Political Revenge Movement.

Western provincial commissioner Abdul Mwasera said the military was merely strengthening the operation that is set to continue until the militias are routed out.