Two more people die in recent clashes in volatile Kerio Valley

Insecurity and poor state of Biretwo-Tot-Chesegon road as forced many motorists to keep off the route forcing locals, oblivious of the danger they are exposed to including sitting on car rooftops, to board the few vehicles available. This man was pictured at Kaptubei centre in Kerio Valley on December 15, 2021. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Tension is still high in Kerio Valley as deadly clashes continue to rock the area.

On Saturday, one person was shot dead in Chesegon, West Pokot, and on New Year's eve, a herder was shot dead by suspected bandits in Kapkobil, Elgeyo Marakwet.

Pokot Central sub-County commissioner Simiyuh Were said Evans Rutto, 24, was shot dead, and Lotudo Longurianyang, 28, Raymond Ywali, 32, and Pnanga Samson, 16, were injured in Friday's attack.

At the same time, some 320 cattle were driven away by the suspected bandits towards Elgeyo Marakwet. “Police are in the area to restore calm. Some of the herders are taking cover in the bushes.”  

On Saturday, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo had warned that the bandits would be named and handed to security agencies.

"Anyone with an illegal gun should be disarmed. Sadly, an attack is ongoing at a time when we are praying for peace," Lonyangapuo said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich called for a speedy resolution to the insecurity in the rea.

“A prolonged conflict makes the proliferation of illegal firearms rise exponentially to a level that will be almost impossible to reverse,” he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Police Commander Patrick Lumumba said the Christmas period was relatively calm. “We increased patrols, leading to a reduction in the number of attacks.” 

Former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said leaders failed to cooperate to end the menace.

Locals in Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Baringo counties say the attacks had degenerated into inter-community fights. "It has turned from cattle rustling into revenge attacks between communities,” said Kiptoo Sutter, a resident of Endo.

Mary Jepkeu of Kapkobil in Marakwet East says the attacks paralysed agriculture and trade activities in the area.