Kenya: Family Goes on a House-Burning Rampage in Revenge Attack

16 January 2020

Residents of Chesubet village in Marakwet West are reeling in shock after members of a family descended on their neighbours and burnt down 27 houses in a retaliatory attack after their kin was allegedly murdered.

According to Elgeyo-Marakwet police boss John Mwinzi, members of the Titoket family attacked the Kamaina family following the murder allegations.

A man identified as Elias Saina was said to have been attacked by another only identified as Kemboi on Thursday last week following a fight in a drinking den.

"When the argument got heightened, Kemboi picked a firewood and hit Saina on the head injuring him badly. He was rushed to Iten County referral hospital where he succumbed to his injuries Wednesday," said Mr Mwinzi.

According to neighbours, immediately it was announced that Saina had died, members from his extended family attacked Kemboi family including the extended members and burnt down everything in their homes.

However, witnesses said by the time the attackers reached the Kamaina family, everyone had gone to hiding including the accused. Efforts to trace any member of the two families were futile as they could not be located.

"They also took away 30 head of cattle, and so many other domestic animals. We have never witnessed such a thing in this village," said Mr Cherubet Alex, a local.

Mr Cherubet also added that it was because of anger that no one had been arrested over the attack until the victim died in hospital.

When we visited the village, the devastation that had been left by the attack was evident.

In one homestead, a poshomill and a Toyota Land Cruiser had been reduced to ashes after being set on fire.

In another homestead, dead chicken and bats were strewn all over the compound after they were caught in the afternoon inferno.

"We watched helplessly as members from the Titoket family devastated the Kamaina family. The members of public could not help as the the attackers were not only full of rage, but armed with all types of crude weapons," said Mr Jeremiah Kemboi, a neighbour.

However, according to area police OCS Pascal Kiamba, immediately the death of Mr Saina was announced, police moved swiftly and arrested few members of the Kamaina family for murder.

Mr. Kiamba added that police were dispatched immediately the attack was reported but could not salvage much as they were overpowered by the large numbers of the attackers.

"Police are still doing investigation but as the norm is, everything will have to cool down before the two families settle and agree on how to compensate each other," said Kiamba alluding to the Marakwet cultural norms when a family member gets killed by a neighbour.

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