Tension as 200 houses burnt down in Pokot – Marakwet border


Tension as 200 houses burnt down in Pokot - Marakwet border
Burnt houses in the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot

In Summary

  • More than 200 houses were set on fire at Kamelei and Kapsen village forcing over 2000 people to migrate to safe places.
  • The incident also left four people seriously injured among them a teacher who was shot in the in the leg and is now recuperating at Kapenguria County Hospital.
  • West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who toured the region called for immediate vetting of national police reservists deployed in the area.

Tension is high in the border of West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties after four people were seriously injured and houses torched in a fresh wave of cattle rustling attacks.

More than 200 houses were set on fire at Kamelei and Kapsen village forcing over 2000 people to migrate to safe places.

The incident also left four people seriously injured among them a teacher who was shot in the leg and is now recuperating at Kapenguria County Hospital.

Speaking to press on Saturday at Kamelei village, area assistant chief Benjamin Kelan said last week, youth from the region raided Marakwet and drove away with 48 cows.

Kelan said the animals were not recovered and this angered the neigbouring community which staged a retaliatory attack where they torched houses without taking any animal.

He said this has led to closure of schools in the region since parents have migrated with their children to Tapach and Sondany areas in the sub county.

Schools which have been affected are Kamelei, Pstono, Traraka, Kapsen Primary Schools and Kamelei Secondary School.

The chief asked the government to deploy security personnel in the region to help flush out the criminals who want to destabilize peace in the region.

“There are few criminals living with us, security personnel need to be deployed in this region to help flush them out,” he said.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who toured the region called for immediate vetting of national police reservists deployed in the area.

Lonyangapuo asked police officers to involve church officials, chiefs and residents in vetting those who qualify to hold government weapons.

“The police need to ascertain the record of the national police reservists before issuing them with guns to help prevent misuse of government weapons,” he said.

The governor also asked the national government to weigh in and help counties in resolving the re-surging conflict.

He said residents had set up houses for anti-stock theft officers, urging the government to immediately send the officers in the region.

“Residents want peace that why they have donated land and set up houses for police,” he said.

Lonyangapuo called on the national Government to intervene and address land disputes and unite the two communities.

“The government evicted people on the Marakwet side and compensated them with Ksh. 410,000 since they had invaded forest land. The government did not explain why they evicted people on one side living the other side,” he said.

He said the West Pokot side is private land and residents have been issued with title deeds, a move that has not gone well with their counterparts.

“The government should clear this mess since we don’t want to live in fear. Both counties want to develop the regions,” he said.

Kenya Red Cross Rift Valley Regional Manager Michael Ayabei called for calm in the area urging neibouring communities not to revenge against any attack.

“Women and children are those ones most affected because residents from both communities have migrated . we have donated few basic commodities to help sustain the affected families,” he said.

He said the society will engage in peace building to bring the two communities together.

The leaders called for well wishers to help support affected families with food and other commodities.

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Story By Collins Shitiabayi
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