Two ethnic groups in decade war over land - Daily Nation
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Two communities in decade war over land they both ‘own’

Sunday February 19 2017

Women demonstrate against killings in Trans Mara.

Women demonstrate against killings in Trans Mara. PHOTO | RUTH MBULA | NATION MEDIA GROUP RUTH MBULA, Women demonstrate, trans mara killinga

By RUTH MBULA
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It is a pain only known too well by the affected families. The pain of losing their loved ones in ethnic motivated clashes characterised by unending retaliatory attacks where members of two rival ethnic groups hunt down and butcher each other.

And, for two decades, a land dispute has pitted the peoples against each other with debilitating effects.

Such is the situation at Pimbinyiet in Trans Mara West, Narok county, where the Kipsigis and the Maasai have been at war for over a year now.

Priscilla Laboso is a woman in pain. Her 25-year-old son, Charles Kiprotich Mutai, was shot dead and his body cut to pieces two weeks ago.

The 62-year-old widow is at pains to explain the death of her last born.

“My son had gone to his maize farm in Pimbinyiet. He was at a corner of his farm when the assailants struck, spraying him with bullets before cutting his body to pieces with machetes,” said the mother of nine.

Mr Mutai has left behind three children, including a six-month-old baby, and two others aged five and three.

On that same day, Joshua Oreu, a young man in the neighbouring Nagwenyi village, also met a similar fate.

He too was shot dead during what is believed to be a revenge attack. His 59-year-old father, Kimaiyo Mputia is yet to come to terms with the death of his eldest son.

His 47-year-old mother, Lucy Mugie, says what pains her most is that her son’s assailants are still roaming free in the villages.

Ms Mugie says Pimbinyiet area risks a generation gap, owing to the fact that most of those killed are young men.

ASSAILANTS TRUCK

Benson Taya Rongo was herding his father’s livestock when the assailants struck. Gunshots rent the air and his lifeless body was left in the fields about 300 metres from the Pimbinyiet police patrol base.

Women say they bear the brunt of the tribal clashes pitting members of the Kipsigis and Maasai communities.

In a span of eight months, more than 20 men have been felled by the bullet or poisoned arrow.

Most children from the area no longer go to school following the insecurity.

Learning at Tagitech Primary School has been disrupted in the past one year and has been off and on, depending on the prevailing security situation.
The school serves children from both communities.

Pimbinyiet sub-location assistant chief Mr John Rono says the school had a population of over 500 pupils but this has greatly reduced as most pupils in upper classes have dropped out and taken up weapons to defend their communities.

When the Sunday Nation visited Nagwenyi village on Thursday, a Form Four student at Shartuka Boys was armed with a bow and arrows ready to fight.
“I will fight to the end. There is no need to be in school when my colleagues are being butchered,” said the student. Mr Rono says the voter registration did not take place in th