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February 20, 2019

State probes politicians linked to clashes that left four dead

Families moving out of Mau after the KFS officers gave them 24 hour notice to vacate the forest or they be evicted forcibly.
Families moving out of Mau after the KFS officers gave them 24 hour notice to vacate the forest or they be evicted forcibly.

The government is investigating politicians believed to be behind the tribal clashes that erupted last week and led to the death of four people in Narok county.

Ten others have been injured.The injured, who sustained arrow wounds, are admitted to various hospitals, including Ololulunga dispensary, Narok County Referral, Tenwek Mission and Longisa Referral hospitals.

Several houses have been torched in the clashes in Narok South.

The skirmishes occurred in Nkoiben, Sagam, Olmegenyu, Oloilabangi near Maasai Mau Forest.

Narok county commissioner George Natembeya said the leaders currently under investigations are from Kipsigis and Maasai communities. He said they will be arrested once the probe is complete.

Speaking during a peace meeting in Ololoibangi in Narok South subcounty on Saturday, Natembeya said no one will be spared regardless of his status for fanning violence.

“Firm action will be taken against those spreading rumours and incitement. The government will not allow a few leaders who incite the people to attack each other and yet they have been living in peace for a long time,” Natembeya said.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has ordered the investigations of unidentified politicians for fuelling tribal clashes in the county.

“I have received very disturbing information that while security teams are working hard to contain the violence, some politicians are undermining these efforts,” he said.

In a tweet on Friday night, Boinnet said the politicians, whom he did not name, incited their supporters to escalate the fighting. “I have ordered thorough investigations into their conduct with a view to arresting and charging them,” he said.

Natembeya also announced that the government has banned people from gathering in large number until the skirmishes end.

“We will not allow more than 10 people to gather. Also, those found carrying crude weapons like bows and arrows will be arrested,” he said.

The county commissioner said the government has intensified security as more than 300 police officers have been sent to quell the violence.

The county commissioner said 29 people have been arrested over the clashes and they will be arraigned in court for causing violence.

The violence started last Wednesday when the body of herder was found in the forest and his cattle stolen. In retaliatory attacks, three other people were killed in different areas,bringing the tally to four.

More than 15 primary schools and five trading centres have been closed following the violence. People who have run from their homes for fear of the attacks are camping at the schools.

Residents say they fear the problem might escalate. A route passing through Olposimoru forest is being used by the warring groups to evade the police officers.

Some leaders from across the divide have called for a truce and asked the government to intervene.

Narok South MP Korei ole Lemein yesterday asked the communities to settle their differences peacefully. He said fighting does not solve problems.

Kericho governor Paul Chepkwony and Bomet’s Joyce Laboso have urged the government to intervene and settle the matter.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech blamed a senator, accusing him of uttering uncalled-for words.

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