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No end in sight for clashes in Njoro as 40 families displaced

By Kennedy Gachuhi | September 19th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Residents flee Kamonoso village following clashes in Neissuit and Mariashoni in Njoro and Molo. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Tension remains high in parts of Njoro and Molo, Nakuru County as communities living at the edges of the Eastern block of Mau Forest continue to clash. 

The Government on Thursday set up two General Service Unit camps in the volatile area as the ethnic clashes escalate.

So far, the violence has left eight people dead and seven injured. One of the injured victim who had an arrow lodged in his eye was transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital where the weapon was removed but he lost his eye.

Nakuru County Commander Tito Kilonzi said the security personnel were deployed to quell the violence that has in the past one week left 40 families displaced.

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“We have set up two GSU camps within Nessuit which is the most affected. A contingent of GSU officers has been deployed to de-escalate the rising tension,” said Kilonzi.

The county police boss explained that the violence is linked to land issues, which has caused ethnic divisions between members of the Kipsigis and Ogiek communities residing in the region.

The recent evictions of families from the forest is said to have triggered the fresh of violence, which has been recurring almost every year.

Peace and order

Business premises and homes at Kapkarang and Kamanoso trading centres have been reduced to a rubble.

Twenty more houses were torched in attacks reported within the past week.

Kilonzi noted that the decision to deploy more officers was to realize quick restoration of peace and order in the area.

“This is a unit known to give quick results especially where there is no peace and order. The GSU officers will remain there until a time when the Government will review the situation,” said Kilonzi.

Violence among the communities erupted in June following announcement of government plans to evict families that have encroached the Eastern block of Mau Forest.

Police reports indicate that at least eight people have been killed since July, with the latest victim losing his life during the Saturday night attack that left seven others injured.

When The Standard team visited the area on Thursday, it was evident that some parts of Neissuit, Ndoswa and Mariashoni are still inaccessible without police escort.

GSU officers were setting up camps at Ogiek Secondary and Ndoswa Primary schools.

Along the way, we met with droves of women and children escaping to unknown destinations. The homes were deserted and very few men were in sight.

Among them was Mercy Chepkorir and her three children carrying a few items she managed to salvage after her house was torched on Wednesday evening.

Opposite direction

“I was inside my house when I spotted men hiding in my maize farm. I took my children and fled in the opposite direction,” said Chepkorir.

While interviewing residents at Kamanoso Trading Centre half of which has been razed down, a group of youths set ablaze a home about kilometre to the West as the police kept at bay a different group targeting another home.

Earlier this month, a multi-agency team set up beacons to indicate the boundary between the Mau Forest and the settlement schemes.

Mau Forest Njoro Ethnic Clashes
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