Violence escalates in Kenya as election nears

Kenya

Political killings have exploded in Kenya. The violence is escalating quietly as the general election scheduled for August this year nears. So far 10 people have been killed and 5,000 fled from their homes in Baringo, media and witness reports indicate.

Media and civil society organisations have so far remained largely unperturbed by the atrocities.  It has raised concern among the Rift Valley leaders linking the murders to political schemes hence the media silence in cover up attempt.

The killings reported in brief stories by different media since late last year are concentrated in the bandit –prone Baringo and Elgeyo –Marakwet.  Leaders fear the violence could escalate with the the likelihood of engulfing the rest of Pokot areas. They are appealing to President Uhuru Kenyatta to deploy the military urgently and stop the killings.

The latest six killings in Loyamorok Member of County Assembly Fredrick Kibet Cheretei and Tiaty Jubilee aspirant Simon Pepee Kitambaa were shot dead by hooded assailants. A day after more killings happened in Bringo North and Baringo South, according the Nation Media. Pauline Kiptoon, 35, was shot dead along with her baby in Baringo North. Paul Chelagat,54, was also shot dead at Chemolongion in Baringo North while Daniel Kangogo and Ms Tungo Talam were shot dead in Kipsekin in Baringo North.

Local people said the bodies were left at the scenes for more than 24 hours.  ‘It is as if somebody wants to send a message to some people ‘in the community.  The killings are being executed by a cartel of incumbent and aspiring leaders who want to get into power by eliminating their rivals, our sources added.

The forces behind the killings are very powerful, sources claimed. They said even as the Deputy President William Ruto visited the community and announced at a public rally that the government would respond appropriately to the killings, gun shots were fired.

A former Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Osman Warfa was quoted in the media saying groups of politicians had sponsored armed bandits. As a result the Kerio Valley has lost over 40 people in the last few weeks and as the violence escalates elected leaders have gone mum.

About 25 schools have been closed down as thousands of people fled their homes in the unfolding humanitarian crisis that has threatened the Kenya Red Cross Society volunteers out of the area. The KRCS chair Abbas Gullet said in a statement said the society suspended operations ‘as we could no longer guarantee their security’.

Kenya was engulfed in post – election violence in 2007/8 in which over 1,300 people died and 500,000 displaced from their homes.  The suspects bearing the greatest responsibility in planning and executing the violence were charged at the International Criminal Court (ICC) but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

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