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Leaders condemn near attack on Raila Odinga by youth

ODM leader and Azimio la Umoja Presidential Candidate when he arrived in Iten before youth pelted stones. [ Courtesy, Twitter]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s entourage to the funeral of prominent Uasin Gishu farmer, the late Jackson Kibor, was attacked as he left the venue early evening yesterday.

Raila’s key ally Junet Mohammed told the Saturday Standard that they had barely left Kibor’s Kabenes home when they were attacked at the gate by marauding youths. The incident allegedly happened in early evening and moments after Kibor, the chairman of the mythical Men’s Conference, was lowered to his resting place. Raila skipped the main funeral service but arrived at Kibor’s home at around six in the evening, heading straight to the homestead where the final rites were being undertaken.

However, the situation deteriorated as highly charged youths started heading to the home, forcing local leaders to evacuate Raila from the scene.

“We had a fairly had a good afternoon, with a town hall meeting in Iten, and another one on the way, before arriving at Kibor’s. As we were leaving the homestead, we found a menacing crowd at the gate numbering 300 or so, who then charged at us with the result being what you have seen,” Mohamed told the Saturday Standard.

He said they had to take a risk and fly low for their own safety, before landing at a safe place where they boarded vehicles and left for Kakamega where they spend the night. Junet said Raila was in the chopper alongside MP Babu Owino, Stephen Tarus and governor Alex Tolgos.

“The windscreen broke… it was a risky affair but then our lives were also at risk, we took the lesser risk and flew low,” Junet claimed.

Junet wouldn’t explain why they did not report the incident to police. He said their safety came first, and that he had reported to the public anyways. A resident who witnessed the incident and whom we spoke to said tension built up outside Kibor’s home as Raila condoled the family.

“This forced some leaders to act fast and evacuate him to safety. As they were escaping, a county vehicle was attacked by some youths,” the resident said.

Raila managed to board his chopper which was already preparing for take-off. As it flew up, the youth are alleged to have started throwing stones to a second chopper, damaging the windscreen. Silas Tarus, Uasin Gishu county director of communication, said Raila arrived at the homestead when security officers had left, but was received warmly by locals. 

“Raila landed when police officers who had been deployed had left the area. However, his reception was good and went to meet with the family as they were doing the final rites,” he stated.

Last night, leaders condemned the incident, terming it as primitive. ODM deputy leader Wycliffe Oparanya who hosted Raila for the night called on security agents to swing to action and arrest the culprits.

"He landed safely at my Likuyani home this evening ahead of his second day of vote hunt campaigns in Rift Valley that takes him to West Pokot County tomorrow. Karibu Baba!," Oparanya tweeted.

Uasin Gishu county commander Ayub Gitonga confirmed the incident, saying youth charged towards the chopper as they wanted to take off.