17-year-old student killed in clashes over 30-year land row

RIFT VALLEY |
[Courtesy]

Residents of Trans Mara West in Narok County have asked the government to end the perennial conflict between two Maasai clans.

The elders say the boundary dispute between the Uasin Gishu and Siria clans which started in the 1970s has led to the loss of many lives and property.

In the latest incident, members of the two clans engaged in skirmishes at Enoretet leading to several people being injured. A 17-year-old Form Two student died in hospital after being shot with an arrow on the chest.

Joshua Kortom of Kenyenya Secondary School in Kisii County had accompanied his friends in planting sugarcane on Friday morning when violence erupted between youths from the two clans. Police later restored peace.

Village elder David Narupa said the fighting erupted barely one year after elders from the two clans met and agreed to live in peace following recurrence of conflict for the past four years.

“We are tired of having our people being killed every now and then. We have many widows and children suffering after their husbands and fathers died in this unnecessary conflicts which has been persistent for over 30 years, let our leaders intervene to restore order,” said Narupa.

The Form Two student was rushed to Kilgoris Sub County Hospital and later transferred to Narok County Hospital. He died as he was being rushed to a hospital in Nairobi for specialised treatment on Friday evening.

When The Standard visited the boy’s home, his family was still coming to terms with the loss of the student who was preparing to resume studies when schools reopen this week. His mother Norkeramat Talala was inconsolable over the unexpected loss of her last born son.

His Talala Kortom said it was very unfortunate that his son who was not involved in the conflict got caught up in the crossfire between the warring groups.

Narok County Police Commander Kizito Mutoro said General Service Unit officers have been deployed to ensure that law and order was maintained and that anyone found causing a breach of peace would be arrested.

“We have launched a manhunt of the warriors from the two clans who ignited the latest round of violence,” said Mutoro.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya had early last year extended the dawn to dusk curfew in the volatile areas in Trans Mara West from 4pm to 7am in a bid to contain inter-clan conflict but later reviewed late last year after elders agreed to implore their kinsmen to maintain peace.

Natembeya also issued a stern warning to political leaders fanning the conflict saying the government will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute them.

“It is very disturbing that while the country is busy fighting the spread of coronavirus, some people are engaging in useless conflicts. We cannot allow the killing of people and destruction of property to go on,” said Natembeya.

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