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Ethnic clashes death toll rises as fear spreads

By Julius Chepkwony and Mercy Kahenda | Published Sat, September 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 14th 2018 at 22:35 GMT +3
A woman pondering what next at an IDP camp in Nessuit primary school in Njoro, Nakuru county following the tribal clashes in the area, September 14,2018 .[Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

In summary

  • Number of the dead reaches eight as communities fight over evictions
  • Violence said to have been sparked by livestock theft triggered by looming evictions

The death toll in the Njoro ethnic violence has risen to eight after four bodies - some with bullet wounds were discovered Friday.

The Saturday Standard team saw one body at Musegekwa village - dumped in a pit latrine. The body had wounds suspected to have been inflicted by bullets.

Villagers claim three other people were killed by police on Thursday night as they attempted to stop the sporadic attacks.

Looming evictions

The attacks are said to have been sparked by livestock theft triggered by the looming evictions following an eviction notice issued three weeks ago.

Dozens of other people are admitted at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital as the violence that has engulfed Nessuit and Marioshioni wards since Wednesday continues to rear its ugly head.

However, Nakuru police Commandant Hassan Barua, who is leading an operation to restore calm in the troubled area, said he was not aware of anyone that had been shot with a bullet. He also denied that there were additional deaths and that such information was yet to be communicated to the police. 

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“We do not have any confirmed additional deathreported today and if any it has not been reported to us,” Mr Barua said.

Locals told journalists that police collected three other bodies in Nessuit area following the night attacks.

Sharon Siele, wife to David Siele, now deceased said her husband left home in the morning to graze animals. We thought he was still grazing only to hear a gunshot at about noon. “We heard gunshots but we stayed home. My eight-year-old son who had been out too rushed home and informed us that he heard people say that his father had been shot,” said Ms Siele.

Siele said she found her husband’s lifeless body lying in a toilet. “I went out, confirmed and left. I had no strength to even take the body home,” said the mother of four.

Locals claim the government issued an order of “shoot to kill” any armed individual.

Three people were confirmed dead by Wednesday night as a result of arrow head injuries while one died while being rushed to the facility on Thursday evening.

“We received one more casualty last night from Molo sub-county. “He succumbed to injuries on his way to hospital. Another victim was Friday referred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital while one is being treated at the Intensive Care Unit,” Nurse Alphard Kemboi said.

He added that another victim of the attacks had a bullet lodged in his head and is scheduled for theatre. “Others are stable and are out of danger,” Mr Kemboi said.

He added that two other victims were taken to the facility Friday afternoon with arrows still lodged in their bodies.

“Two more patients have been brought in with arrow heads lodged in their bodies; one on the neck and the other on the back. They have been booked for the theatre,” Kemboi said. The attacks heightened on Wednesday and Thursday nights where several houses were gutted down and over 10 schools closed down in the ensuing violence.

Police have since been deployed in the area to restore calm.

“Tension has been building up since an eviction notice was issued almost three weeks ago. Some communities came out publicly to support the eviction while others seem to have opposed the move,” Jackson Kumare, a resident said.

Friday, two chiefs from Nessiut Ward in Njoro were arrested.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga said the two were inciting communities. He also ordered a curfew within affected areas.  

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