Calls for justice as four men killed near KDF camp laid to rest

The caskets bearing the bodies of four middle-aged men suspected to have been killed by military personnel near KDF recruits training school last week. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

A sombre mood engulfed Kamagut in Uasin Gishu county as four men killed near the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Recruits Training School in Eldoret were laid to rest.

One survivor of the November 26 killings who was admitted to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret coincidentally died at the time the four men were being buried.

Locals and leaders called for a thorough probe into the killings that happened at Ngano Farm near KDF camp.

Governor Jonathan Bii said he asked President William Ruto to address hostilities sparked by a land dispute pitting KDF and residents of Kamagut and Kiplombe.

"The President served as the MP of the area and understands the issue. He has agreed to meet representatives of the locals over the hostilities between the military and residents," the Governor said.

Bii assured locals living near the KDF Recruits Training School that they will not be evicted.

"We will not accept the killing of local youth, again," said the governor.

The slain men are Daniel Kiprotich 28, Cornelius Kipkoech 24, Kenneth Kipkemoi 26, and Shadrack Kipkemoi 23.

Mourners were informed that Kelvin Kipkemboi, who was fighting for his life in hospital, succumbed to injuries.

He survived the attack at the disputed property, where his private parts were severely injured.

Rev Kibet Maswai of African Inland Church told mourners to forgive the killers of the five men.

"Two wrongs will not make a right. Let us be patient. We are in pain but it will not be helpful," the cleric said.

Chairman of the troubled Nine Farms, Joseph Tororei said locals had been promised that they would be given land at Maili Tisa as compensation.

"We met Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale three times but no solution has been found," Tororei said.

Local administrators asked residents to keep off restricted areas to avoid confrontation with KDF.

"We will be lying to our people if we tell them to encroach KDF land and collect maize. Will we die if we don't keep off KDF land," Kiplombe location senior Chief said.

Kiplombe MCA Gilbert Lagat revealed that local leaders had appealed to human rights activists to seek justice for the victims.

Lagat said activists have volunteered to hire lawyers to seek justice for the victims.

He insisted that locals have lived in the land for decades and it was wrong to classify them as squatters.

Uasin Gishu Ward Reps told locals that they were documenting evidence of killings, rape and torture amidst the animosity with KDF.