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Boy who confronted Natembeya in 2019 roots for peace, in school

Denis Lang'at with Narok South Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu when he visited him at Bishop Colin Davis Primary School. Denis who is a peace ambassador was caught on camera confronting Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya during a peace meeting at the height of tribal clashes in Narok. [Robert Kiplagat, Standard]

At the height of 2019 ethnic clashes between two communities in Trans Mara, a boy armed with bows and arrows caused a stir when he confronted the then Narok County commissioner George Natembeya.

The boy was captured on local television stations and social media demanding justice for his community that he felt was under siege from warriors and wanted the government to take a firm stand.

While some described his actions as backward, other thought of him as brave.

The boy was Denis Lang'at, then aged 12 and he stood and decried the violence that affected the communities in areas that had witnessed loss of lives and property during ethnic clashes.

Natembeya was shocked that Lang'at was not in school at that age.

His video went viral exciting Kenyans and organisations who got interested to know more.

Lang'at got appointed as Child Peace Ambassador by National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and always used to preach peace among communities. 

Lang'at, who hails from Ololoipang'i village in Narok South sub-County was then adopted by the area security team.

Yesterday, The Standard caught up with him at Bishop Collin Davis Boarding Primary School where he is now a Grade Four pupil.

Unlike when he confronted Natembeya, Lang'at ais nowadays calm, soft-spoken and shy.

"I'm happy and comfortable here at school. I thank those who rescued me and brought me here," he said.

Lang'at says he would like to be an administrator when he finishes his studies adding that he preaches peace at home during holidays.

He revealed that he was bitter with the security agencies since their house was torched during the violence in Trans Mara and their cattle were driven away by people from another community.

"I was mad because the security team were telling us to stop fighting yet we had nowhere to sleep as our hut had been set ablaze," he says.

Once again brave young warrior is now a peacemaker who sees no good in war. "During war and conflicts, it is the children and women who suffer. War and clashes are bad," he says.

As we enter the electioneering period, Lang'at advises the youth to avoid being used by politicians to disrupt peace.

The school's Headteacher Felix Onyango describes Denis as an ambitious, respectful boy who has fully undergone rehabilitation for the last two years.

"When he came here, he did not know how to read and write but now he is among the best especially in mathematics," says the teacher.

Unlike when he was in the outside world, Lang'at is now in a boarding school where he is cushioned from external influence.

Despite his "celebrity status", Onyango says Lang'at who is now 14 years old, is always humble.

Narok South Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu, his foster father, who rescued Denis is marvelled at his transformation. "When we rescued him, he was combative. He was armed to teeth with bows and arrows and we saw it for him to get an education," says the administrator.