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21 February 2024

Eight killed in Kenyan attack

By Agencies


Raiders killed eight people in Kenya's Rift Valley region, where cattle rustling has fanned tribal animosity, police said on Wednesday.


In addition, the ethnic Turkana raiders stole nearly 1,000 animals from their Pokot rivals in the late Tuesday attack in East Pokot district, said local police commander Peter Njenga.


"They raided remote Amayo and Lugodi villages where they stole close to 1000 animals,” Njenga said.  

“The Turkana were armed with rifles and shot six people who died on the spot and two others shot by arrows died on their way to hospital," he added.


Security forces were pursuing the attackers but no arrests had been made, police said.


The attack comes as police searched for a fugitive militia chief who called for a halt to military operations in the restive northwestern Mount Elgon region in an interview with a local radio station.


Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said officers were searching for John Kanai, the commander of Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), a militia which has been fighting against the government over land claims.


"It is just a matter of time, we will get him ... The government is determined to restore law and order in Mount Elgon," Kiraithe added.


In an interview with West FM on Tuesday, Kanai accused the government of bombing civilians in the area, where several hundred people have been killed and 66,000 displaced by bloody clashes since December 2006.


Hundreds of government troops backed by helicopters are sweeping the area in a bid to flush out the SLDF. At least eight people have been killed and hundreds arrested since the latest operation was launched on March 9.


"The security officers are looking for something they cannot find. Why are they hurting civilians?" the Standard newspaper quoted Kanai telling the radio station, based in the western town of Bungoma.


Kanai, who is on the police's most wanted list, said the operation had disrupted farming in the region and has been followed by insecurity and inter-tribe clashes.


Police stormed the station after the interview in search of Kanai's telephone contact, but were told he had concealed his number.


The militia wants the government to cancel a land redistribution programme it launched in 2006 and which would entail the displacement of thousands of local tribesmen.


Government forces are also tracking down two other militia groups: the Political Revenge Movement (PRM) and the Moorland Defence Force, a militia formed by the Ogiek tribe to counter the SLDF. (AFP)