Death toll rises in Nandi-Kisumu border clashes

Sunday January 10 2016

By MOSES ODHIAMBO
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The death toll following deadly clashes on the Kisumu-Nandi border has risen to five after two more people died on Saturday.

Tension remained high along the border with police intensifying patrols at the clash-torn Kibigori area.

The clashes were triggered by the theft of livestock from Kisumu which residents claim were driven into Nandi on Thursday night.

Local leaders have condemned police for alleged slow response, saying that although the clashes are recurrent, this time residents of the Luo and Kalenjin communities were well armed.

REVENGE ATTACKS

Residents of Majimbo area left their homes in fear of revenge attacks.

Mrs Christine Otieno, 55, was reportedly slashed and she succumbed to her injuries at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where she was receiving treatment.

Ms Yunita Adhiambo told the Sunday Nation that her cousin, Adiet Omuga, also died while receiving treatment at the same hospital. He was being treated for arrow wounds.

The same fate befell Charles Onyango Nyadwar and another 21-year-old only identified as Bonke, as well as another man who was yet to be identified.

“On Friday morning at around 10 am, we left to recover our stolen animals but failed. So the youths decided to take cattle belonging to our neighbours as an excuse for them to return our stolen animals.

It is after this that youths from Nandi started fighting their colleagues from Kisumu,” Mr Oscar Onyango, leader of the Muhoroni Peace Monitoring Unit, said.

Youths wielding crude weapons gathered in groups on the volatile border waiting for leaders to convene a meeting to reconcile the warring sides.

Kibigori market centre remained a ghost town on Saturday as traders closed their shops for fear of repeat attacks.

FAMILIES DISPLACED

At least 12 families were displaced at the height of violence; many others were seen carting away their belongings after more than eight houses were torched on Friday night.

John Otieno Ogada, 56, said he watched from a distance as 100 youths raided his homestead.

“They took away 22 plastic chairs, two bicycles, two television sets and DVD players, and a solar lighting system. I spotted some of them who I know but, with their rage, we couldn’t have a conversation,” said Mr Ogada.

He said that he narrowly escaped death with his wife, youngest daughter and granddaughter.

“I watched in fear as my houses went up in flames. There was nothing we could do,” Mr Ogada said.

“Animals have been stolen here for long and we have always recovered them without trouble.

Why is this one taking such an ugly turn? Why are they (Nandi residents) killing us this time?

We highly believe that they have been mobilised to execute the attacks,” Ms Linet Siamoga, a human rights activist, said on Saturday.

Nyando MP Fred Outa said it beat logic why police concentrated their operations on the side that was more aggrieved.

“We have many unanswered questions regarding the way police have handled this crisis. The amount of spent cartridges we have collected in Kabonyo village raises questions about how this matter has been handled so far,” Mr Outa said at the scene.