Forest guards clash with locals after two shot dead over sheep

The guards opened fire, killing one person on the spot and injuring three others. [iStockphoto]

Two people died and three others were seriously injured following a confrontation between residents and Kenya Forest Service guards in Msegekwa in Keiyo North sub-county yesterday morning.

Tom Makori, the Keiyo North sub-County police commander said that after the confrontation, security officers arrived at the scene and found one middle-aged man lying dead within forest station's premises. Another person reportedly died while undergoing treatment at Iten Referral Hospital.

Makori however said that officers drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation were still combing through the crime scene to establish details.

“It seems there was a confrontation between Kenya Forest Service officers and locals which led to all this. It is evident from spent cartridges in this compound that live bullets were shot," said the security chief.

The guards had reportedly withheld 22 sheep at Msegekwa Forest Station compound after they were found within a no-grazing zone in the forest.

However, all the sheep were mauled by an unknown wild animal at night, prompting a reaction from residents who stormed the station demanding an explanation why the animals were not kept safe.

A disagreement ensued between the guards and the charged crowd, before the seemingly overpowered guards opened fire, killing one person on the spot and injuring three others.

The residents described the confrontation as bloody, saying the guards shot directly at them. "Our people have lost lives because of an issue which would have been sorted out amicably," said visibly angry Ann Chebii. "We just came to the forest station to demand answers, but instead the guards responded with live bullets."

Zablon Omulako, the county KFS director said the government will compensate those who lost their animals.

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