Kenya: At Least One Dead, 7 Injured in Fresh Tribal Clashes in Nakuru

County leaders after signing a peace accord to end incessant boundary disputes.
13 September 2020

At least one person has been killed and seven injured in renewed tribal clashes in the Nessuit, Mariashoni and Ndoswa parts of Nakuru County.

Tension is high following separate attacks on people and the torching of at least 10 houses from Saturday night. Sigaon,Tiritagoi, Nessuit centre, Cheptoroi, and Kapkatet and Kapkarang villages are among the affected areas.

The seven people are nursing arrow-inflicted wounds at health facilities in the county including Nakuru Level Five, Elburgon and Molo Sub-county hospitals. The body was taken to the Egerton mortuary.

Three of the seven victims suffered their wounds in Ndoswa in a Sunday morning attack by an armed group of at least 10.

Mr Dominic Kirui, 23, was one of those attacked by people who had been hiding in a maize plantation.

"I heard people screaming at around 7am. As I responded to the distress calls, I saw a group of armed youths who shot me in the left thigh," said Mr Kirui, who was interviewed at Elburgon Hospital, where he was taken.

He said the attackers disappeared into the plantation after the incident.

Medic Winfred Irungu said the victim was out of danger.

"We have treated and referred him to Nakuru Level Five Hospital for further treatment as the arrow was still lodged in his body. He needed X-ray services," said Ms Irungu.

Mr Kirui's brother said he was shot with an error in an incident in August that came after Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya convened a peace meeting in Nassuit.

Another victim of the fresh attack, 30-year-old David Bii from Kamnoso village, said he was shot in the left leg by the same people as he worked at a farm.

"I managed to remove the arrow," he said at the same hospital.

The third victim, 29-year-old Edwin Kiptoo from Lawina, suffered an ear injury also inflicted by an arrow. He said he had been walking along a road with friends when the incident took place.

Security tightened

The fresh clashes come barely a month after more than 20 people from Nessuit and Ndoswa were attacked by a bow and arrow-wielding group, an incident that left at least five people dead.

While raising concerns about the possibility of more attacks, residents urged police to beef up security in the area.

Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui said the government deployed more security officers to the areas following the renewed clashes.

"We have dispatched a contingent including officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) to calm down the situation," he said.

A spot-check by the Nation found a heavy presence of security officers mainly from the GSU. And at trading centres including Mariashoni, Ndoswa and Nessuit, residents gathered to discuss the events and the trail of destruction the attackers left.

At least 30 families that fled their homes for fear of attacks sought refuge in the neighboring Njoro and Molo towns.

Residents linked the skirmishes to land conflicts at the Eastern Mau Forest.

"There is tension in Njoro, Molo and other areas around the forest especially since the government evicted people in July. The tension resulted in the violence because our neighbours who were evicted now want to push us away off the parcels of land they had sold to us before moving into the forest," said Nessuit resident Peter Cheruiyot.

Jane Kimutai also spoke of land tussles among communities living on the fringes of the Eastern Mau Forest.

"We need a lasting solution to the land conflicts. We call upon the government to issue title deeds in Njoro and Molo to end the conflicts," she said.

Curfew

In July, the government kicked off evictions of illegal settlers on the fringes of the expansive Eastern Mau Forest in Nakuru.

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) had started a multi-agency operation to reclaim Logoman, Sururu, Likia, Kiptunga, Mariashoni, Nessuit, Baraget and Olposmoru forests within the Mau Forest complex.

In August, the government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in part of Njoro including Mariashoni, Ndoswa, Nessuit, Kaprop and Kapnoswa.

On Sunday, Mr Mbui said the curfew will not be lifted until peace and normalcy are restored.

"I urge residents to remain indoors between 6pm and 6am. Those found outside during those hours will be arrested, forthwith," he said.

Mr Mbui also directed police to arrest any resident found with any kind of weapon.

The Nation established that the government is also mulling constructing more permanent police stations in volatile areas including Kapkarang and Tiritagoi to avert clashes in future.

"We have plans to establish more police posts to improve security and tackle any other forms of crime," he said, and asked residents to help security agencies identify those inciting others to cause violence.

In August, 10 people including local politicians and a chief were arrested and arraigned over violence that lasted about three days.

Later, leaders and local administrators led by Mr Natembeya convened peace meetings at which warring communities reached a truce.

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