Protestors block Eldoret-Nakuru highway after boy drowns in abandoned quarry

They accused the county government of failing to retrieve the body in good time.

Tuesday February 9 2016

Police remove rocks used by protesters to block

Police remove rocks used by protesters to block the Eldoret-Nakuru highway on February 9, 2016. The residents were protesting the Uasin Gishu County government's delay in retrieving the body of a boy who drowned in an abandoned quarry three days earlier. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GERALD BWISA
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Transport along the Eldoret-Nakuru highway was Tuesday paralysed for five hours after residents of Ngeria in Uasin Gishu County blocked the road protesting the drowning of a school leaver in an abandoned quarry.

The residents blocked the road from 9am after efforts by a county team to retrieve the body of the boy, who drowned on Saturday while swimming with friends, failed.

The irate villagers engaged police in running battles, forcing the officers to shoot several times in the air and lob tear-gas canisters to disperse them.

“It was on Saturday at around 12pm when a group of boys went to swim in a quarry but unfortunately one of them drowned," said Mr Abdallah Kipkorir, a resident.

“Our efforts to rescue the boy proved fruitless [and that] forced the county government [to try to assist] but they also failed.

“They promised us they would send divers, but up to now we are still waiting and that is why we decided to block the road to provoke action,” he explained.

NEGLECTED BY LEADERS

Ms Nancy Kimei, another resident, said it was unfortunate that the locals had to block the road in order to get the attention of the county government and yet they have leaders from the area.

“Our leaders have failed to execute their mandated duties to the locals, forcing us to block the road in order to have the attention of the county. That’s really unfair,” she said.

The residents condemned the police for shooting in the air and lobbing tear-gas canisters at them, saying they were in a peaceful protest and no property had been destroyed.

They also accused the county government of failing to retrieve the body in good time, saying it had personnel and equipment for such tasks.

“All we want is the body to be removed from the quarry, which is so deep that we can’t risk doing it ourselves,” she added, saying that it was not the first incident to have happened there.

Several people were injured during the protests and were rushed to a local health centre as police restored order.

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