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TRIBAL CLASHES FEARS STILL PERSIST IN WESTERN KENYA AS SIX PEOPLE ARE KILLED IN MT. ELGON.

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo, API/APN correspondent

29/10/07

API/APN, Kisumu – Kenya: Tribal clashes have erupted in Western Kenya as the general election is approaching raising fears of possible reoccurrences of more trouble during the electioneering campaign period.

More houses were torched at the clash-torn Kuresoi Division in the newly created Molo district.

Reports emerging out of the area says tension remained high following an attack by unspecified number of armed raiders who torched 25 dwelling houses on Friday night.

Hundred of villagers have fled their houses in search of safety. They fled their houses for fear of further attack. The Friday night incident bring to 44 the number of houses burnt down over the past 5 days.

But the police have issued an assurance that everything would be done to stop the violence, which has pitted members of the Kikuyu and Kipsigis tribes.

Apart for the killing of the 80 year old man in the middle of last week at the infamous Kamwaura village nobody was injured in the latest attack.

The fleeing residents sought refuge elsewhere after the nightlong ordeal that threatened to escalate despite the heavy presence of police and members of the para-military units the dreaded General Service Unit (GSU).

Police reported the arrests of several troublemakers including a woman at the Mungetho area on the suspicion that they were planning to attack various homesteads in the vicinity.

The woman was accused of selling the illicit and highly intoxicating changaa drink to the raiders who have been terrorizing the locals residents in Mungetho since last Friday when 10 dwelling houses were set ablaze at Kamwaura.

An assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the security operation in the violence prone area Mr. Ephantus Kiura confirmed that 15 houses were burnt down at Getucha, a four at Mwangati three at Buchage and two at the nearby Arimi farm.

So far three people have lost their lives in the latest arson attacks and several other left injured.

A former Kuresoi MP James Koske visited the affected area at the weekend and consoled the affected families.

Koske strongly condemned the violence and called upon the government to look for a lasting solution before the situation deteriorates further

A Mr. Silas Gitai 80, and his son Mr. Kahunda 50 are among the latest victims of the seemingly well coordinated and conducted by well-drilled group of raiders. The attack has spread to many other parts of Kuresoi where inhabitants consisted members of Ndorobo (orkiek), Kipsigis, Turgen and the Kikuyu. There are also a few Kisii residents who have settled in the area.

An eight year old boys earlobe was chopped off when his home was invaded by more than 50 armed men in Githiriga village.

Meanwhile local leaders have appealed to the government to involve local community leaders in the peace initiative to help solve the ethnic clashes problem once and for all.

The former Permanent Secretary in charge of Provincial Administration and Internal Security Mr. Zakayo K. Cheruiyot who is vying for Kuresoi parliamentary seat on ODM ticket said the provincial administration should work hand in hand with local leaders in a joint concorted effort to resolve the issues. Also be involved are the local clergymen, he added.

In Mt. Elgon area police performed a security ring outside various secondary schools where the Form Four students are currently sitting for the KCSE national exam amid reports that six people were hacked to death as violence escalated.

The killers beheaded their victims, leaving the violence weary residents in deep shock.

The attackers believed to be members of the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), launched simultaneous attacks on several villagers killing six people and injuring several others.

In the Coast Province two boys were killed and another gangster was seriously hurt when a Manyatta village came under heavy attack on Sunday morning in Tana River district. In the bloody violence, which also saw one Mr. Gitahi and his son being taken to hospital with arrowheads lodged in their bodies following a 3 am raid on their homes in Githiriga while a Mr. Benson Njuguna 65 was found in his house lying in a pool of blood after he was attacked while asleep by unknown armed men believed to be the Kipsigis moran. They broke the door of his house and attacked him ruthlessly with matchetes.

Also identified to have died at Kamwaura was Mr. Alex Gachiri and Mr. Festus Karanja who was killed in the neighbouring Kamwaura trading centre.

The chairman of Kenyas Electoral Commission Mr. Sam Kivuitu made the most eagerly awaited election date as on December 27, 2007. The announcement and the dissolution of Parliament earlier in the week by President Mwai Kibaki have also raised political temperature in the country.

Reports emerging from the newly created Molo district say four more houses were brought down on Wednesday night in the troubled Kuresoi area.

The torched houses, according to the local D.C. Solomon Abwaku were unoccupied at the time of the incident, and the police are actively investigating the matter.

In the Mt. Elgon district in Western Province a suspected member of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) killed a man, the police have strongly refuted that the militia group had also attacked and raided two police posts within the district.

A senior police officer confirmed that Mr. Joseph Mutonyi 52 was hacked to death and his body dumped in a pit latrine.

It was obviously the work of people suspected to be members of the rag-tag army who killed Mutonyi at his Chelebei village house, said the District Criminal Investigation Officer (DCID) Mr. Said Mbaruk.

Sources in Western Province say that suspected SLDF militia attacked two police posts on Tuesday night last week, but were quickly repulsed by police officers manning the station.

The heavily armed gunmen allegedly attacked Chelebei and Kipsigon police posts. The militia men came close to rescuing their three colleagues who were being held at Chelebei post, but we responded promptly forcing the assault and to fleeing into the forests.

After the abortive raid at Chelebei, another group of people suspected to be the same gang attacked Kipsigons post about five kilometers away, but they too were repulsed. No casualties were reported.

In the Molo incident, arsoning set on fire three unoccupied dwelling houses in the troubled Kamwaura village in Kuresoi Division causing a lot of panic among villagers.

The unknown raiders struck at 11 pm on Wednesday night despite the heavy presence of security personnel in the area.

Last week, armed raiders attacked Kamwaura trading centre and torched 10 houses before fleeing with seven herds of cattle and household goods of unknown value.

These arsonists struck as local religious leaders pitched tent in the area to hold prayers and reconciliation meetings. The area has witnessed ethnic violence in which 15 people have died since last year.

During the Wednesday inter denominational prayer meetings, the police came under scathing attack for failing to arrest politicians fanning violence.

Some of the politicians seeking to contest the Kuresoi parliamentary and civic seats in the area were also accused of inciting the youth to commit animosity.

The leaders and local residents pointed an accusing finger at the police for their laxity in the dealing with the perpetrators of violence, who were said to be well known to area residents.

The religious leaders have been at the forefront of reconciliation effort in the area that has witnessed constant tribal conflicts between the two communities, namely the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu. The Kalenjin, particularly members of the Kipsigis sub-tribe considers themselves as the indignant people while treating the Kkuyu as aliens.

The seemingly endless tribal conflict is suspected to be politically instigated and the religious leaders have called upon the government to involve civil society in peace building efforts.

In Sondu areas along the Nyanza Rift Valley Provinces, the calm has returned following last week skirmishes in which the members of the Kipsigis community were shot dead by police in their effort queing the armed contractors between the Kipsigis and Kisiis.

But by Thursday evening there was still heavy pressure of the regular police and members of the paramilitary units (GSU).

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

Published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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