Influential individuals are funding the new wave of tribal clashes in Olpusimoru and Olenguruone at the Narok-Nakuru border, Narok county commissioner George Natembeya said yesterday.
He did not name names. The conflict re-erupted at the weekend. It has left one person dead, 26 injured and many families homeless. More than 50 houses have been burnt near the Maasai Mau Forest. Police have arrested nine people.
“The people were arrested at Olenguruone while in a queue receiving money from their funders. What worries us more is why people from other areas fan tension in this area,” Natembeya said.
The suspects will help with the investigations so police get the main culprits. Natembea said the financiers are against the second phase of Mau evictions.
“We know those who sold the forestland, where eviction is scheduled to take place, are rich influential people. They’re funding these young men to cause chaos,” he said.
“These young people come only to fight and go back. Despite our efforts to hold peace rallies, nothing changes because the people on the ground are paid to fight.”
Natembeya promised to restore peace and order and ensure the two warring communities coexist harmoniously. No one will be allowed to frustrate peace efforts, he said.
The skirmishes were triggered by the theft of eight cows. The communities blamed each other. The injured were admitted to Olenguruone Subcounty Hospital, Nakuru, and Tenwek Mission Hospital, Bomet. Most of them have arrows wounds.
On Tuesday, Rift Valley regional coordinator Mongo Chimwanga declared a curfew in the clash-hit zone and banned residents from carrying crude weapons.
“Remain indoors between 6pm and 6am. Anybody found outside will be arrested,” he said.
Mongo warned those behind the clashes that “the long arm of the government will reach them soon”.
Meanwhile, three leaders from Chama Cha Mashinani on Tuesday condemned the clashes. Former Bomet governor Isaac Rutto, former Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot and party secretary-general Meitamei Olol Dapash urged the state to act swiftly and end the violence.
“We’re worried about insecurity. These two communities have lived together and intermarried. This matter was brought about by crooks who steal cows from both sides, thus dividing the communities,” Rutto said in Narok town.
Cheruiyot called for thorough investigations so all culprits are punished. Dapash warned leaders against inciting the two communities to violence. “We should be at the forefront finding the root cause of insecurity — not being the ones causing bloodshed,” he said.
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