Transmara Killings Heightens Tension

Two people were killed and another injured at Pimbiniet area in fresh clashes between members of two communities along Trans Mara East and West Sub Counties common border.

The two from each of the warring sides were killed  in fresh clashes in the volatile area. The injured man is fighting for his life at Kisii Level Five Hospital, while the bodies have been moved to Kilgoris Sub-county Hospital.

Confirming the incident, Trans Mara West OCPD David Wambua said the tension which has been building up in the area erupted into violence when armed youths from each side confronted each other at Pimbiniet.

Wambua said security patrols have been intensified in the area with a combined contingent of regular, administration, General Service Unit (GSU), and Criminal Investigations (DCI) Officers deployed to ensure security was maintained.

Members of the public fleeing the volatile Transmara area at Pimbiniet area recently
Members of the public fleeing the volatile Transmara area at Pimbiniet area recently

“Anybody found to cause a breach of peace will be dealt with,” he warned.

The tension between members of the two communities has also paralysed transport along the Dikirr- Esoit- Kilgoris road with both communities fearing to cross the territory occupied by their rivals since the killings started on Monday.

Trouble started when 12 houses were set ablaze at Pimbiniet area along the Transmara West and East common border early Friday night and Saturday morning, culminating into violence last night.

The area was a no-go zone  as youths from both communities charged at each other with bows and arrows. Security personnel had a rough time calming the situation and had to shoot in the air several times to disperse the angry youths. Calm has however returned to the area this afternoon.

The arsonists are said to have set blaze the deserted houses so that the owners don’t get opportunity to come back, adding that there has been a longstanding boundary conflict on the Transmara East and West common border as one community believes the boundary was set up in their land and favoured the other community.

Wambua is now calling on the National Land Commission to move with speed and resolve the boundary issue.

Trans Mara area has been experiencing insecurity between the two main counties and neighbouring counties. Violent clashes have been experienced for some time now leading to loss of lives and property destroyed and this incident is likely to stir fresh tension.

Last weekend, a businessman was shot dead when a group of armed people raided Esoit trading centre on the volatile area.

This occurred just a few days after ten heads of cattle had been reported stolen at Shartuka along the Trans Mara West and East common border, but security personnel managed to recover some of the animals.

Cattle theft, land, water and grazing pasture have been found to be among the main causes of the perennial conflict between the Kipsigis and the Maasai living in the larger Trans Mara, but politicians are also said to be inciting the residents.

The 1,000acre Shartuka /Njipship ranches is also to blame for perennial ethnic flare-ups as the residents complain about unfair and double allocations of these parcels of land.

Last month alone, four people were killed in separate incidences and several houses torched in what appears to be retaliatory attacks.

Some schools have not been opened while in others teachers have not reported due to insecurity and this is bound to have far reaching implications on education in future.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai has said that his government brokered and sponsored peace talks between elders from the two communities to be held in Naivasha on February 17 and 18 this year, in a bid to find a lasting solution to the conflict and added the land Commission is set to visit the area to address the issue.

Narok County Commissioner Moffat Kangi recently outlawed carrying of offensive weapons in the area tHe has issued also a 14 day ultimatum to the residents of Trans Mara and the county to surrender all illegal firearms in their possession or face forceful disarmament. This was after it was discovered that firearms were being used by attackers.

The public administration has also been trying to involve political leadership from these border counties in peace meetings to help restore peace and order and resolve insecurity and the persistent cattle rustling incidences along the borders of the two sub-counties and Migori County.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku

  

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