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Raila chopper stoning: Step-by-step account of what happened

The damaged windshield of Raila Odinga’s helicopter. [Standard]

Raila Odinga was inside Mzee Jackson Kibor’s house when hostility was building up outside.

The ODM boss had arrived when Kibor had already been laid to rest. That was a few minutes past 5:30pm Friday, April 1.

Odinga arrived in the company of Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed, Embakasi lawmaker Babu Owino, among other people.

An eyewitness told The Standard that the leaders touched down in two helicopters; one had the two MPs and other dignitaries, and the other had Raila Odinga.

“When the helicopters landed, at around 5:50pm, most mourners had already left Mzee Kibor’s homestead at Kabenes in Soy Constituency,” said the eyewitness, who requested to have his identity concealed.

The Kibor family had requested mourners to leave so that they could hold a private interment ceremony.

“Upon landing on an open field at Kabenes, Raila Odinga and his entourage were received by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago’s security officers. They were, thereafter, escorted to Kibor’s homestead. Members of the public had been barred from entering the compound,” said the eyewitness.

Inside Kibor’s home, Governor Mandago and Soy MP Caleb Kositany received Odinga and his team.

“Shortly after Raila’s arrival, Mandago and Kositany were asked to lay a wreath on Kibor’s grave. The two were, thereafter, asked to leave the room so that Odinga and his team could condole with Kibor’s family,” said our informant.

Mandago and Kositany went outside the house. The crowd that had milled around Kibor’s home started chanting pro-UDA slogans at this point.

Some of the youths were near the two choppers parked several metres from Kibor’s homestead.

As the shouts increased, Mandago signalled his security officers to escort Raila Odinga and his entourage to their choppers, said our source.

“One of the helicopters – that Junet Mohamed and Babu Owino had earlier arrived in – was ready for take-off. So, it ascended immediately after Raila and the two MPs got in,” he said.

Police officers who had been deployed to the scene had to fire teargas to disperse the hostile crowd.

“It was at this point that the youths retaliated by pelting stones at the remaining helicopter and Governor Mandago’s vehicles,” said our source.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Stephen Kihara told The Standard that seven police officers had been deployed to provide security at Kibor’s homestead during the burial.

Raila Odinga, in a statement on Friday night, April 1, accused Governor Mandago and MP Kositany of engineering the violence, allegations that the two vehemently denied, with Mandago saying he actually provided security to the ODM chief.

Kositany, on his part, said he learnt of the violence meted out on Odinga and his entourage through micro-blogging site Twitter.

Police said the helicopter, whose windshield had been damaged, was flown to safety. It was the chopper that Odinga had arrived in at Kibor’s place.

Deputy President William Ruto on Saturday, April 2 issued a direct apology to Raila Odinga, terming the Friday attack unfortunate. Ruto said violence shouldn’t be tolerated in any part of the country.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), in a statement dated Saturday, April 2, summoned MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), and Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat over alleged role in the Friday chaos.

The three have been ordered to appear before the Rift Valley DCI Regional Coordinator on Sunday, April 3 at 9am.