At least five people have been killed and 25 others seriously injured following an outbreak of sporadic violence this week in Olpusimoru and Marioshoni in Narok and Nakuru counties, respectively.
Two people died at the Narok County Referral Hospital on Wednesday, while one succumbed to bullet wounds at the same facility on Thursday. Another victim died in Marioshoni after being shot with arrows yesterday.
Clashes rocked Olpusimoru after the killing of two boys who were grazing family cattle on Tuesday. It culminated in the shooting of two youths allegedly by security personnel carrying out the operations. A fifth person was hacked to death at Olpusimoru trading centre.
More than 10 people are admitted to the Olenguruone Sub-county Hospital with arrows lodged in their bodies with two others having been transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital for specialised treatment.
Those admitted to the sub-county hospital include Mr Fred Keriasek, Mr Solomon Leoron, Mr Tumpes Sankei and Mr Joseph Naimodu.
“Bullets are lodged in their legs, ribs back and lower abdomens, and it seems that they were shot when running away because they were all hit from behind,” said a medical officer at the hospital.
The dead, Jonathan Mbusia, was allegedly shot by a police officer in Teegat village. The second victim, Musanka Sadera, succumbed to bullet wounds at the hospital yesterday.
Clashes escalated on Wednesday and Thursday morning and engulfed five villages — Naisiida, Teegat, Olengape, Esoit and Kilapa — as fighters from two communities armed with bows and arrows engaged in fighting for the last two days with more than 30 houses so far torched.
In Njoro Sub-county, a man died after being shot with arrows, while another eight have been admitted to Nakuru Level Six Hospital.
The dead are among more than 12 people who were attacked by armed youths at Ndoswa in Marioshoni on Thursday morning.
They had initially been taken to Elburgon Sub-county Hospital with arrows still lodged in their bodies. One of them, hospital Medical Superintendent Dr George Biketi said, had a mild arrow wound on his chest.
“His name is Bernard Kirui, 19, and he had a superficial wound on the left side of the chest; we were able to stabilise his condition and admit him for observation,” Dr Biketi said.
The second patient, the doctor said, is Mr Gilbert Kirui, 30, who sustained a severe injury after an arrow pierced through his left pelvis. He was stabilised with painkillers and a tetanus injection, before being referred to Nakuru Level Six Hospital for surgery to remove the arrow. Speaking from his hospital bed, Bernard said he saw a group of youths invade his compound around 6am and when he tried to inquire what they were doing, they attacked him.
A contingent of police officers, led by Molo Sub-county Police Commander Joseph Karanja has moved in to contain the situation.
Mr Joseph Rotich, a member of the local community policing group, said the violence was triggered by land disputes and the recent evictions overseen by the Kenya Forest Service in Marioshoni.
A resident, Mr Kiara Mbusia, who witnessed the police shooting, said fighting started at 6am but the few police officers, who came, were overwhelmed. They had to call for reinforcements.
“When a bigger contingent arrived, we were still fighting, but they took sides and started shooting at us, killing one person on the spot and injuring five others as we refused them to take the body away,” Mr Mbusia told the Nation from his Narok Referral Hospital bed.
Nakuru Level Five Chief Nursing Officer Wendy Tirop said three people were referred to the hospital on Thursday with arrow injuries and one of them was treated and discharged.
A victim has an arrow lodged in his chest and the other on the head. “However, all the patients are in stable condition,” she said.
Mr Daniel Kones, who had an arrow lodged on his arm, told the Nation that he was attacked outside Olposimoru Police Station where he had sought refuge after the chaos erupted.
BLAMING EACH OTHER
The communities are blaming each other with one side demanding that the government pursue and return 25 cattle stolen from them by their counterparts three days ago for them to embrace peace. But the other side dismissed claims that the fights were about cattle theft, instead laying blame on land and 2022 politics.
“These issue is about expansion. Our neighbours are threatening us every day that we should go back to where we came from,” Mr Timothy Korir said.
Although the reason for the Marioshoni violence is not yet clear, leaders blame it on the scramble for the remaining Mau forest fringe land after the eviction by the KFS two weeks ago.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya said in an interview with the Nation that contingents of security officers have been deployed to the area and had managed to quell the violence.
“As I speak, I we have over 200 security officers patrolling the affected areas, and so far, calm is slowly returning to the area.
“The Nakuru and Narok security teams will hold meetings with residents in the areas to ensure that peace is restored,” Mr Natembeya said.
He added: “I strongly warn anybody planning retaliatory attacks that they will face the full force of the law.”
Reporting by John Njoroge, George Sayagie, Phyllis Musasia and Eric Matara