Community wants answers over killings

Wednesday May 30 2007

By NATION Reporter

The Government has been urged to explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged massacre of 70 pastoralists in Laikipia District. 

The chairman of the Maa Civil Society, Mr Ben ole Koisaba, accused the Government of covering up the killing of the pastoralists, who were returning stolen cattle to their villages.

However, police say only 31 pastoralists were killed.

Mr Koisaba also appealed for immediate establishment of an inquest to unearth the truth.

Scale of massacre

He further claimed that the bodies of those who had been killed were still littering the ground where it happened because the Government had denied their relatives access to the scene for fear that the scale of the massacre would be exposed. 

“The situation is subjecting families to unwarranted distress as well as denying them the right to bury their dead. We are therefore demanding that they facilitate the collection and identification of all the bodies,” he said, calling for the arrests of those behind the killings.

Mr Koisaba also accused the Government of favouring the Pokot community.

“We are concerned that when the Pokot attack the Samburu, government forces do not recover stolen animals. This prompts recovery attempts by the Samburu, which normally lead to further confrontations,” he said. 

Human rights abuse

He went on: “The Samburu have also had innocent people killed and those maimed denied access to medical attention just like it happened during the Oloonong’ot operation in 2004 where the injured were left writhing in pain. This is a trend that is tantamount to the vilest human rights abuses.” 

Failure to act, said Mr Koisaba, would mean that the Government was unwilling to solve the problems.