By Osinde Obare
Armed bandits robbed an international athlete along Kapcherop-Kachibora in Marakwet West District.
Marathoner Joel Kiptoo was on Wednesday forced to buy his freedom. Timothy Kosgei, who was ferrying the athlete on a motorcycle, was wounded and is at Kitale District Hospital.
Kosgei told The Standard from his hospital bed that he was carrying the athlete when the bandits attacked them near Yatoi area.
“They opened fire at us. The bullet hit my stomach, but the athlete surrendered and gave out money,” Kosgei said. The bandits had minutes earlier shot dead another motorcycle operator, John Kiprotich. They then took the motorcycle and cash from him.
Kiptoo had run over 80km from a training camp at Iten when Kosgei picked him on the way.
The runner is expected to attend a marathon race in Humberg Germany September 11. The deteriorating security prompted local elders to conduct a traditional ritual to curse the bandits.
Hundreds of residents led by area MP Boaz Kaino gathered at Yatoi area, a notorious spot for the bandits, to witness the rite presided by a respected elder, Rotich Karisto.
Amid silence, the elders castigated and condemned banditry attacks and cursed those behind the menace.
Before the ritual, residents protested to the elders that the bandits had paralysed transport.
A woman emotionally narrated how her daughter was raped at gunpoint by two bandits after they stopped their motorcycle.
“Our sons have become beasts. They rob and even rape their own mothers. This must stop,” urged the woman. Kaino and businessman David Kimosop led the residents to demand that the Government posts more security personnel to contain the rising crime.