Kenya: Nakuru Court Detains 14 Arrested Over Njoro Clashes for 10 Days

A court in Nakuru has ordered that 14 suspects arrested in connection with the violent clashes that rocked Njoro Sub-County last week be detained for 10 days to allow police to conclude investigations.

Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui directed that the suspects, among them former Nessuit Ward MCA Joseph Miangari and a Kenya Defence Forces Officer, be detained at Bondeni and Njoro police stations .

The orders followed an application by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who sought to hold the suspects for 14 days pending investigations.

The police, through an affidavit sworn by Sgt Joshua Tobolei, said they are investigating murder, promoting war-like activities and incitement to violence.

Thousands displaced

Mr Tobolei said they needed time to conclude interrogation of suspects, retrieval of their criminal records as well as record statements and conduct an identification parade.

Police claim the suspects, jointly with others who are at large, were responsible for organising and funding the clashes which left five people dead and thousands displaced.

"[The period] from the time the suspects were arrested and the time within which to conduct in-depth investigation is not adequate and investigation is complex in nature given the fact that the investigating officers are also actively involved in ongoing security operations," read the application.

However, the suspect's lawyer Ochang Ajigo opposed the application saying the police were using the violence as a weapon to violate his clients' rights.

He accused the police of making random arrests and making his clients the sacrificial lambs in their bid to end the fights.

The magistrate directed that the suspects be presented in court on August 13.

Fanning violence

The suspects were arrested on Friday last week following the ethnic violence that erupted on Wednesday.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya, in a press briefing on Sunday, said the suspects are being investigated over their possible role in fanning the violence.

He said five people were killed while 83 others were injured in the clashes that affected 10 villages within the two sub-counties.

He said initiatives aimed at quelling the situation have begun with the government engaging in peace talks with leaders to end the perennial violence.

"The government has also begun discussions with the National Land Commission to find an amicable solution to the ongoing land problem," said Mr Natembeya.

He noted that the government had deployed a contingent of about 200 police officers to maintain peace.

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