Police find arms cache in Trans-Mara, Narok County

Tuesday November 21 2017

weapons

Some of the weapons police seized in a security operation in the volatile Esoit area of Trans-Mara, Narok County. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By RUTH MBULA
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Police have found an arms cache in the troubled Esoit region of Trans-Mara, Narok County.

The volatile area has known no peace for the last one year due to an armed conflict pitting members of the Maasai community against the Kipsigis.

AK-47

General Service Unit officers, who have been conducting a security operation in the region over the last one week, found three guns and over 1,000 poisoned arrows among other weapons.

They seized two AK-47 rifles, a G3 rifle, 47 bullets, 23 bows, 26 quivers, two machetes, four spears and nine assorted warlike equipment.

Trans-Mara West police chief David Wambua on Tuesday said the weapons were being used in the protracted conflict that has left more than 30 people dead in Esoit and Pimbinyiet areas.

The tribal clashes have also left dozens injured, over 100 houses torched and hundreds of people displaced from their home.

“They will soon have the peace they have so longed for,” Mr Wambua said.

TORTURE

Narok County Commissioner Mofatt Kangi, who is leading the operation, said the mop-up was long overdue since the warring Kipsigis and Maasai communities are armed “to the teeth.”

“Initially, we gave a grace period (for the residents) to surrender the weapons to the police and administrators but nothing came forth,” said Mr Kangi.

But even as police continue to restore order, residents are up in arms over alleged brutality. 

Residents on Tuesday accused the officers torturing and injuring them.

The officers, who came in more than four trucks, allegedly broke into houses, hotels and shops.

Kurangurik Health Centre officer-in-charge Hillary Ng’eno said he had received 15 casualties and referred seven others to Longisa Hospital in Bomet.

LOCKDOWN

“Most of them sustained injuries from blunt objects. Among them were minors and children,” he said.

Mogondo MCA Vincent Rotich is among those injured by the GSU officers.

“It is very devastating that they have no respect even for elected leaders,” he said.

“They have tortured us! I have acquired a P3 and I am pursuing justice. I will soon file a case in a court of law against them.”

Maasai Council of Elders treasurer David Mampuli condemned the manner in the operation was being conducted, saying officers had imposed a virtual lockdown on the area.

DIKIRR

“We do not oppose the mop-up of illegal guns alleged to be in the hands of civilians, but what we are against is the beating up of innocent people by the police,” said Mr Mampuli.

While expressing his support for peace-seeking endeavours, including the recovery of arms from criminals, Mr Mampuli said the operation should not be used to loot property and harm residents.

Emurrua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng’eno said the operation was not serving its intended purpose.

“Why beat women and children? Why come deep into my constituency? The fighting is at Esoit, Junction and Kirindon areas, why are people of Emurrua Dikirr being attacked,” he said.

“The GSU officers have extended their area of operation to as far as Emurrua Dikirr centre, which is kilometres away from the volatile border.”

BLAME

Mr Ng’eno noted that while he supports police efforts to restore security, their actions to injure innocent civilians could be interpreted as lawlessness.

“Whom will we run to for safety if the very people who are supposed to protect us have turned against us,” he asked.

But Mr Wambua said the operation was launched after residents accused security officers of doing little to contain the violence.

“Discontinuation of the operation is not anticipated soon,” he said.