Arrest criminals in Sondu clashes, say Azimio leaders

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga during a press conference at Jaramogi Odinga foundations on October 5, 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja leaders have demanded the arrest of perpetrators of the killings along the volatile Kisumu-Kericho border in Sondu.

At the same time, Kericho Senator and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot want all police officers in Sondu along the volatile border, transferred.

Yesterday, Azimio leaders led by Raila Odinga said they were concerned about the negative impact of the insecurity on livelihoods and economic activities in the area. "Consequently, we are asking the government to support the families affected by this violence. Such support should include footing the medical bills for those seeking treatment and helping with the burial of those killed in this violence," said Raila.

He also raised concern over the rise in terrorist activities in parts of Coast and northern Kenya. About two weeks ago, some Kenya Defence Forces soldiers died when a military chopper crashed in Boni forest, Lamu County.

"We believe this was an attack by Al-Shabaab. Such attacks have become common place in Mandera and other parts of northern Kenya with victims being police officers, teachers and ordinary residents," said Raila.

The Azimio leaders said they found it strange that while the country is grappling with insecurity, the government is planning to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti. "We cannot send 1,000 of our young men and women in uniform in harm’s way over 12,000 kilometres away without Kenyans through their elected representatives in Parliament, having a say as to whether this is in our strategic national security interest or it is motivated by other interests," said Raila.

Meanwhile, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has urged politicians from Kisumu and Kericho counties to calm down their supporters.

In a statement signed by NCIC chairperson Samuel Kobia, they called on the Interior Ministry to enhance security along the volatile Kericho-Kisumu border and restore calm.

"We are calling upon political leadership of both Kisumu and Kericho counties to appeal to their followers to cease hostilities," said NCIC. Kobia told the two communities to use relevant channels to air their grievances.

Speaking separately, Mr Cheruiyot called on Inspector General of Police and Interior Cabinet Secretary to immediately transfer all officers in Sondu for failing to stop the clashes.

"It is appalling that the officers have been passively spectating as the two sides engage in despicable bloody orgies, with little or no action to restore order, protect lives and property," he said.

Luo Council of Elders chairman Ker Odungi Randa said the two communities have lived in peace previously, and there is need for them to embrace each other.

"There should be an end to these senseless blood shades. We are not only neighbours but also brothers. Let us embrace the spirit of brotherhood and love one another, " Odungi said.

Additional reporting by Clinton Ambujo