Man killed as gang opens fire on rioters

Tuesday May 17 2011

By HASSAN HUKA [email protected]

A man was killed and two others are missing in street demonstrations that turned ugly after unidentified gunmen opened fire on protesters in Moyale town.

The man was hacked to death by demonstrators protesting against the rape of a 19-year-old girl by men suspected to be from a rival community on Sunday. Scores of people were treated for injuries at Moyale district hospital.

The girl is said to have been tortured and raped by four men. She was taken to Moyale district hospital in serious condition.

The protests started after members of the Borana community accused the police of failing to issue the girl with a P3 form.

One of the injured, Mr Dera Chakesa, was taken to the hospital after he was shot in the head by gunmen the residents claimed were hired by members of the Burji community.

Tension remained high in Moyale town as military officers moved in to recover stolen items from shops.

A community elder Sora Arero claimed that the soldiers from nearby Odha military base rounded up residents of Butiye and Sesi estates and beat them on Monday night.

On Tuesday, the medical team at the hospital was overwhelmed by the high number of casualties.

Police moved in to quell the fights after the gunmen from Manyatta Burji opened fire on their rivals.

The demonstration was called after elders failed to attend a dispute resolution meeting following the rape incident.

“Police have taken sides in the riots and members of one community are being arrested as they turn a blind eye on those using illegal guns to repulse us,” Mr Arero told the Nation by telephone from Moyale.

Transport in the town was paralysed for three days and the few matatu on the roads were escorted by heavily armed policemen.

Moyale police boss Julius Mwou said six suspects had been arrested and would be charged with assaulting the girl.

However, Mr Mwou downplayed claims by residents that the police were fanning the riots by issuing guns to individuals from the rival community.

“No gun was given to anybody in Moyale,” said the OCPD.

The Kenya-Ethiopia border was closed following the street riots on Kenyan side.