Chiefs ordered to produce arsonists who burnt 50 houses

A hut burnt in an arson attack in Maron, Elgeyo Marakwet County after one clan reportedly displaced a rival clan over land dispute. [Stephen Rutto/Standard]
The Government has given chiefs from two locations in Elgeyo Marakwet County three days to produce suspects behind the burning of 50 houses last weekend.

Tens of armed men invaded Maron area, Marakwet East constituency, where they razed 57 houses on Saturday and Sunday, displacing nearly 150 families according to authorities.

At least 25 cows were reportedly stolen during the attack, with residents now staring at hunger after a couple of granaries got razed.

Residents said displaced families have been spending the nights in bushes under chilly conditions, following the skirmishes.

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Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar yesterday said Chiefs and their assistants from Koibirir location, where the armed men are suspected to have come from and their counterparts from Embobut, where houses were torched have three days to produce suspects failure to which, the will be suspended.

Omar also ordered the chiefs to recover guns used by the suspects during the attack.

“Some of the Chiefs are not cooperating with the police and that is why we have ordered them to produce the suspects in three days failure to which, we shall just suspend them,” Omar said.

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He said a security operation conducted by Marakwet East Sub-county police commander Vincent Kitili did not lead to any arrest after the suspects allegedly went into hiding.

The commissioner said the police alone could not trace the suspects after Chiefs failed to cooperate with them.

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He said the disputed land is a government property, which is used as holding ground for members of the indigenous Sengwer community who were yet to be compensated and resettled by the State.

“The disputed land is under the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and is only serving as a holding ground for communities that had not been settled. The government was planning to resettle those living on the land,” Omar said.

The affected families accuse security agencies of failing to apprehend the suspects said to be hiding in a nearby forest.

A resident, Joel Yano said one person sustained burns and is still receiving treatment at Kapsowar AIC Mission Hospital, while two others were treated and discharged.

According to Mr Yano, Maron and Marichor primary schools have been deserted as tension mounts in the area after the invaders shot in the air several times while razing houses.

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“We have reports that the suspects are planning to burn more houses anytime soon. Police officers have been deployed but we have not seen any arrests,” he said.

The attackers, according to Mr Yano had attacked the village and torched more than ten huts two years ago, but no one was arrested and charged.

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Elgeyo Marakwet CountyArson