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Two killed, six houses torched in border clashes

By Rushdie Oudia | March 9th 2014 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Nyakach deputy County Commissioner, Chaunga Mwachaunga, addresses youths from Kericho at Kamulok village yesterday. [PHOTO: TITUS MUNALA/STANDARD]

By Rushdie Oudia

Two people have been killed and six houses torched along the Nyakach-Kericho border following conflict between two neighbouring communities.

The violence was executed at around 9pm on Friday at Ngege in Nyakach in an alleged retaliatory attack. Two weeks ago a man was killed after he allegedly attempted to steal from a home in Nyakach.

Few days later a man was also killed in Nyakach. Friday night attackers believed to have originated from Kericho County set ablaze four houses.

For the better part of the night and Saturday morning the two communities engaged each other before the police came in.

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Nyakach residents barricaded the Kisumu-Sondu road paralysing traffic for the better part of the morning.

“We are attending a funeral at a place called Kandaria in Nyakach and we are unable to travel back because of the conflict. They have barricaded the road and no vehicle is allowed to pass,” said Deborah Anyango, a teacher at Victory Academy in Kisumu Central.

The intervention of Nyakach deputy County Commissioner Chaunga Mwachaunga led to a temporary ceasefire after he ordered the warring sides to disperse.

However, this was not fully heeded as the members from the two warring communities regrouped on either side of the road.

The attacks come barely three days after security teams from both areas held an inter-county baraza to discuss the rising spate of attacks and counter attacks by the two communities.

One person was allegedly killed at Jimo East area while the other at Ngege, both in Nyakach. They were shot by arrows and also suffered deep cuts from machete attacks.

Nyakach Central Ward Representative Elijah Omondi, who was at the scene, said it was unacceptable for a man to be killed in broad daylight in the presence of police.

He added: “This happened in broad daylight a few minutes after the police had intervened and stopped the two communities from engaging in further confrontation.”

The violence is believed to have begun during a night wake for the one those killed in recent attacks when attackers from Kericho County struck and started torching houses.

Four houses were set ablaze on Friday night and another two yesterday.

Machete- wielding youth

Merceline Okoth, a resident of Nyakach, said she was at a funeral when she heard people screaming and saw some houses burning.

“When we realised we were being attacked, we ran towards the road and stayed there throughout the night,” she said.

Ms Okoth said the police arrived later.

Benjamin Pile, another resident, blamed the police for not doing enough to secure the area, adding that the heightened tension had made villagers to flee from their homes.

Another resident Eliakim Ombogo called for quick resolution to the matter, saying both communities need each other and should co-exist peacefully. “Two weeks ago we even played soccer together as a way of fostering peace among us, yet the following day we attack each other,” said Ombogo.

The two communities were armed with machetes, bows and arrows, spears and slings baying for each other’s blood. They were only metres away from each other.

Victor Sigei said the main cause of the attacks is yet to be known because there was no theft of cattle as had been the norm.

Sigei alleged that the Nyakach residents had promised to attack those in Kericho every month. He called on police to set up a station in the area to provide security.

Mwachaunga urged the two communities to work together to end the frequent attacks.

He said chiefs from the affected regions will choose people that will spearhead the reconciliation.

“Police bosses from the affected areas will investigate and bring perpetrators to book,” said Mwachaunga.

He said nine people had been arrested in regards to the killing that happened two weeks ago in Holo and another three have been arraigned in court and charged with murder.

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