MUHORONI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The death toll following clashes along the Kisumu-Nandi border has risen to five as two more people succumbed to arrow wounds.
Eleven other people are still nursing arrow wounds in hospitals within Kisumu County with four cases termed as serious. Despite the heavy presence of police officers, tension is still high with many youths carrying weapons of war.
Kibigori is the epicenter of the clashes and security officers have taken over the small centre located along Mamboleo – Chemelil road. The ever busy market bringing together the Luo and Nandi residents is now a ghost market with only police officers patrolling the area.
Along the road, several youths are seen in groups carrying arrows, bows, spears and other assortment of crude weapons boiling for war. The fight erupted following cattle theft on Thursday night followed by a retaliation sparking more clashes in the area.
Close to ten homes in Muhoroni constituency were torched, animals driven away and household goods looted.
A local pastor, John Ogada, had two houses of his sons burnt down alongside his kitchen after escaping death narrowly.
Ogada says he had to run and spend a night in the sugar plantation alongside his wife as he saw a group of young men from Nandi descend upon his home at 4pm.
The group set the houses on fire and broke into his main house and took away household goods.
“I hid on a sugar plantation and I saw the group setting the houses on fire before breaking into my house where they carried everything. I have lost a lot that I can not exactly quantify in terms of cost,” he said.
Ogada says cattle theft is rampant in the area and blamed the county and national government for doing little to contain the act.
“I would wish to ask the government to look into ways that we live in peace with our neighbours. If it is cattle rustling then the government has the machinery to bring that to an end,” he said.
He further blamed security officers who responded to the clashes for practicing biasness noting that his home was broken into and police officers were just a stone’s throw away and failed to stop the youth.
“Every time there is a problem in the area, police officer are lax ad tend to protect the other side, who normally attacks us,” he said.
Jombo Peter, a local youth in Muhoroni says the problem should not be looked in the face value as cattle rustling noting that there are some deep rooted causes.
Peter says the situation is politically castigated and appealed for peace in the region.
“Our ample request is to our leaders to come and make peace between Luos and Nandis so that we can lie as brothers and sisters,” he said.
He noted that land issues are also a major factor to the clashes and cattle rustling could be used as a plot to ignite clashes in the area.
Nyando MP Fred Outa who toured the area on Saturday appealed to the locals to keep peace and asked the government to speed up investigations into the matter.
Outa condemned the killing of the five people noting that life is sanctity and asked for proper protection of lives.
He decried laxity of the security in the region and called for an overhaul of security apparatus in Kisumu County.
“I want to call upon the county government to step in immediately because there is an emergency, these people are scared, they do not have food, shelter and medicines,” he said.
He warned that those who are causing violence in the area will be dealt with according to the law.