, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – Witness P0487 told the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday that Kikuyus in Rift Valley were forced to take up arms to protect themselves during the 2007-8 post-election violence (PEV).
He said together with other young men they held fort in the predominantly Kikuyu occupied Location One with machetes, clubs and whichever other weapons they could find.
They also formed groups in order to better protect themselves, taking up position where they were most familiar, “because Location One was a very big area,” the witness said.
“There were around five groups so we had stationed every group and we were communicating through mobile phones so other groups could reinforce areas the attackers were approaching,” he told.
A strategy that at least in his case, worked: “We heard that Kalenjin attackers were coming from the other side of Location One so I also went there because it was closer to where I was stationed but the attackers were on the other side of the river and afraid so they didn’t cross over.”
Despite their concerted effort, the witness said, they did suffer from casualties and fatalities; one of which he witnessed on January 1.
“I remember there was a great war and around two people were killed. One was a Kikuyu. I was near and I can describe him as somehow drunkard and when the attackers approached him he could not reply according to how they expected him to reply so they started slashing him and killed him,” he recounted for the benefit of the court.
He was however unable to account for the second killing he had mentioned when Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji prompted him for specifics.
Instead he backtracked on his earlier testimony saying, “No they had ran away, there was nobody else in that area,” when Eboe-Osuji asked him, “Do I take it then that the only person whom you saw being attacked after the assailants had asked him questions was only the drunken man?”
Witness P0487 will likely need to further corroborate his evidence now that he is undergoing cross-examination by Deputy President William Ruto’s defence counsel David Hooper.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Hooper had already begun to challenge the witness’ recollection of events.