Two more people shot dead in Kerio Valley, days after CS Fred Matiang’i's visit

Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang'i (centre) in Tot, Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Two people have been shot dead in Kerio Valley, days after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered bandits to surrender firearms and stolen livestock.

One man was shot yesterday, while the other was shot on Thursday, just two days after the CS’s tour of the banditry-prone Kerio Valley.

A fierce gun battle ensued at 11am as herders from Marakwet East in Elgeyo Marakwet County and another group from Tiaty in Baringo County clashed at a grazing field near Kerio River – the border of the two counties.

Before the Tuesday visit, five people had been shot dead and more than 150 livestock stolen by armed bandits wreaking havoc in the area for the last three weeks.

The area has been peaceful for the last two years after the warring Marakwet and Pokot communities signed a peace accord in July 2019.

Marakwet East sub-county police commander Clement Mbavu said the herders clashed after their counterparts from Tiaty attempted to steal cattle at the grazing field.

Mbavu said the deceased herder is from Kabetwa Village.

He said one man was injured during the gun battle and was rushed to a nearby hospital. “Herders from the two communities clashed near Kerio River and as a result, one person died. Police officers responded swiftly to quell the tension,” Mbavu said.

Yesterday’s attack happened a day after a 22-year-old Laikipia University student, who was shot dead by bandits nearly 10 days ago, was buried at his parents’ home in Sambalat near the Elgeyo Marakwet-West Pokot border.

Leaders, including West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich, MPs Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria), Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba), Lilian Tomitom (West Pokot Woman Representative) and her Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Jane Chebaibai attended the Saturday peace meeting in Chesegon at the volatile border of the three counties.

Last week, Matiang’i said a special deputy county commissioner would be deployed to Kerio Valley to help in tackling banditry.

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