Fresh conflict heats up in Marigat
15 January 2013, 16:46
More than 200 people including little children are camping at a Catholic Church facility in Ng’arua, Laikipia County after being uprooted from their homes in the neighbouring Marigat district, Baringo County.
The internally displaced people (IDPs), who feared that an unknown number of relatives could have been killed in the clash between Pokots and Turgens, went calling on Father Sadro of Muchongoi parish in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, January 9.
Father Sadro and a team of officials from St Martin Catholic Social Apostolate, led by the religious organization’s vice director Thomas Kihara, were having a meeting to review the situation.
Also in attendance at the meeting held at Kirima Holy Family church grounds, was a team from the Baringo Laikipia Nyandarua (Balanya) Peace Caravan, led by its chairman, Arch Bishop Elijah Wamburi.
Wamburi, who is also the Secretary General of the Akorino Churches Assembly, thanked the Catholic Church fraternity, especially Fr Sadros, for offering refuge to the affected people.
“The victims are staying in dormitories and classrooms and the good priest has been giving them food, water and other possible help since they arrived. The people of Laikipia, who are known for their generosity to visitors, should assist by donating maize since it is harvest time here,” said Wamburi.
He appealed to members of his church to set the pace in the donations.
The Archbishop, who interviewed a cross section of the victims, quoted them as narrating that tension between the Pokot and Turgen tribesmen had started to build up since last July when the former stole hundreds of cattle from the latter.
According to the victims, the Pokots descended on Turgen manyattas last week with guns, drove away cattle and goats whose numbers had not yet been established and torched some manyattas in the recent incident at Mkutani/Kasiele area.
“Since it was at night, some of our men, women and children are yet to be accounted for. At least one person was shot dead. We managed to escape to this place, practically with nothing, while some of our people scattered to other safer parts around Mwenje in Laikipia,” Wamburi said quoting one of the IDPs, a pastor.
On Friday morning when Wamburi and his team arrived, some men at the IDP camp had already left to look for their missing relatives.
Wamburi said that he had found the children in a classroom with a nursery school teacher who was among the refugees.
An assistant chief was also among the escapees, noted Wamburi.
He expressed fear that if the government does not act swiftly to once and for all control the violent, inter-tribal cattle raids are likely to spill over to Laikipia.
“Coming just ahead of the General Elections, this incident should be taken with the seriousness it deserves so that it does not appear as a rehearsal for election violence,” said Wamburi.
While speaking on phone, Thomas Kihara described the situation as “not good”.
The St. Martin administrator said that the victims needed food, clothing, blankets, medicine and any other help from people of good will.
He appealed to humanitarian organizations to donate the items, and called upon the leaders from the affected area to address the matter with the view of restoring peace so that the victims can return to their homes as soon as possible.
The host, Fr Sadro, offered the facility that used to be a nice boarding school before it was shut down indefinitely following allegations of poor administration for free.
The school used to be run by white missionaries but did not last long after African Fathers took over.
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