Peace talks in strife-hit Olpusimoru Ward begin

The ceremony is meant “to appease the evil spirit” that brought about the fighting.

Thursday December 31 2015

Police on patrol at Olpusimoru in Narok North

Police on patrol at Olpusimoru in Narok North on December 29, 2015. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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By CAROLINE WAFULA
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Reconciliation between the Maasai and Kipsigis communities has begun after recent clashes that left four people dead, 40 injured and thousands displaced.

A 50-member reconciliation team has been formed to spearhead the process.

The team comprises chiefs, religious and opinion leaders, elders and youths from both sides of the divide.

The climax of the process involving rituals by both communities will be a cleansing ceremony where a bull will be slaughtered and eaten to signify peace.

The ceremony is meant “to appease the evil spirit” that brought about the fighting.

More than 200 houses were burnt and over 4,000 people displaced in the fighting that began on the eve of Christmas Day.

At a press briefing in Olpusimoru Ward, area MCA Wilson Masikonte said both communities agreed to give dialogue a chance.

“When the team that is selected by the community meets, it will agree on a modality that will bring about lasting peace. Nobody here is interested in clashes,” the MCA, who is acting as an arbitrator, said.

CURFEW

No violence has been reported since Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet visited the area and held meetings with members of the two communities.

Mr Nkaissery said those found to have incited the communities or involved in the fighting would be apprehended and prosecuted.

He also ordered the arrest of anyone found with bows, arrows or spears. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was also declared.

Locals who have been camping at Township Primary School in Olenguruone have been assured of security and asked to return home.

When the Nation toured the area on Tuesday, residents were driving livestock back home. One of them, Mr Joseph Rotiken, was from Olokurto, 30 kilometres away.

Mr Stephen ole Nampaso, a youth leader, said they had laid down their weapons to give peace a chance.

“Look at the youths and you will realise that we are not in war gear. We want to give the government a chance to find the killers of the two herders,” he said.

He added that the government should embark on a cohesion drive in hotspots.

Mr Samson Kitamoni, a resident, said both sides suffered massive losses.

“We are tired of the tension and are ready to welcome back our neighbours so that we restart our lives,” Mr Kitamoni said.

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