August 21st 2017

Top Stories / National

Ethnic clashes flare across Kenya as election fever sets in

In Chesogo on the Pokot/Marakwet border, some residents have been forced to live in caves in fear of attackers who come for ther livestock. The government has had to transfer the top security officials from the region.

By Gertrude KirengaSunday, 13 Nov 2016 17:58 EAT

West Pokot senator John Lonyangapuo addresses the media during his recent peace-making efforts in the region. (Photo: Free Press Correspondent).

More than 100 Kenyans have died at the hands of ethnic militias over the last three months as inter-ethnic violence once again becomes a feature of the electioneering period. Ethnic clashes have been reported in Wajir, Mandera, Kisii-Kericho border, Kisumu-Nandi border, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Nakuru, Isiolo and Tana River counties. At least 14 people were killed in interethnic clashes last week alone, seven of them killed in one day of violence in Wajir County. Nearly 75,000 Kenyans have been displaced around the country.

Last weekend, seven people were killed in Wajir County as rival clans clashed over the sharing of the natural resources. Similar clashes have been reported along Kisii-Bomet borders as members of the Kisii and Kipsigis tribes clashed over cattle rustling. The Kisumu-Nandi border, which was a flashpoint for most of the 1990s, has witnessed violence too, pitting Luos against Nandis. Valuable property was lost in the violence in August, with several houses, crops and farm animals destroyed.

The region has captured the headlines is the Kerio Valley, which has seen renewed violence between the Pokot and Marakwet communities for nearly two months. All national security officials and a number of politicians including West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo have trooped to the area in an effort to broker peace between the communities. In Chesogo on the Pokot/Marakwet border, some residents have been forced to live in caves in fear of attackers who come for ther livestock. The government has had to transfer the top security officials from the region.

Ethnic violence has also been witnessed in Meru-Isiolo Counties caused by disputed border leaving 10 people dead and a chain of destruction, while ten people have reportedly been killed in ethnic based violence pitting two rival tribes in Laikipia and Isiolo Counties. The latest skirmishes in Mandera County pitting Murulle and Marhan clans in Arabia area has claimed nine people. Four people have also been killed over ethnic based violence pitting Isiolo and Garissa Counties, while in Tana River County three people have been killed in clashes were between the Pokomo and Somali communities, following invasion by the Somali herders.

In Nakuru County, at least two people have been killed while 500 people have been displaced and over 250 houses burnt down. There has been repeated tribal clashes within areas of Kosovo, Naivasha, pitting Masai on one side and the Kalenjins on the other. One person has been killed in the latest clash with close to 10 killed in the last three months. Nine suspected militants have been arrested in the Kosovo area, six of them last week as police heightened their search for a rifle that was used in a recent killing as violence continues to rock the area.

The renewed violence has triggered concerns the upcoming election may not be free and fair in many regions. "The country is collapsing from the seams. We cannot continue to be captives of politicians and war lords perpetrating robbery with violence in the name of cattle rustling," said Francis ole Kaparo, chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission which is charged with punishing hate speech.

Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000166807/national-cohesion-and-integration-commission-to-name-leaders-behind-ethnic-violence-in-keny

The writer is an MSc student in applied statistics at JKUAT and researcher at the Kenya Free Press





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