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Tears, tension as 19 victims of Kapedo accident are laid to rest

A somber mood engulfed Kapedo village on the border of Baringo and Turkana counties as 19 victims of last week’s accident were laid to rest under tight security.

The civilians perished and scores of others seriously injured after an Administration Police (AP) lorry they were travelling in was involved in a tragic accident at Moinonin along Marigat- Loruk road in Baringo North Sub-County on Saturday last week.

Tension was high during the burial after the hearses carrying the bodies were attacked on Sunday night at Chesitet area by armed bandits suspected to be from the neighbouring community leaving one person dead.

The 9pm incident happened when the convoy carrying the bodies was ambushed by the criminals and the hearses had to go seek refuge at the neighbouring Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) camp at Chesitet area for more than three hours before they resumed their journey to Kapedo at midnight after they got reinforcement from police.

GUNSHOT WOUNDS

According to Turkana East Sub-County Commissioner Joseph Bulut, two other people sustained gunshot wounds in the night attack and have been taken to hospital.

The burial ceremony was also disrupted for some minutes after mourners scampered for safety after they heard gunshots some meters away from the burial site.

Speaking during the burial, local leaders drawn from Turkana County, however, condemned the attack of the convoy noting that it was absurd for armed bandits to shoot on the dead and aggrieved people.

The leaders led by Turkana South MP James Lomenen said that the bandits have gone overboard by shooting people anyhow.

“I wonder why armed bandits decide to shoot at dead bodies which were being taken to rest. People are yet to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones then you come and shoot at them?. That is absurd,” said Mr Lomenen.

The MP questioned why the government was dragging its feet in arresting armed bandits unleashing terror on locals in the area.

“Locals here no longer go on with their daily duties because of the same bandits wreaking havoc and killing people each time. We have buried a lot of people here because of banditry attacks from armed criminals from the neighbouring community who have even resorted to killing security officers  and torching their vehicles,” he added.

INSECURITY MENACE

Mr Lomenen blamed the accident on the perennial insecurity menace in the area that has made locals to hike lifts from police vehicles oblivious of the dangers.

Residents from the volatile region usually hike lifts from police vehicles as one way to be assured of their safety following rampant attacks from armed bandits roaming the area.

During last week’s accident, Baringo AP commandant Robinson Ndiwa said there were five police officers aboard the vehicle and an unknown number of civilians.

He said that the police officers stationed at Kapedo AP camp had gone to Marigat town to buy foodstuffs for officers  and were involved in the accident on their way back to their to their station.

He added that the rampant conflicts between the two neighbouring Turkana and Pokot communities were orchestrated by the boundary dispute at the volatile Kapedo.

“We want the government to come clear on the boundary dispute at Kapedo area once and for all. We cannot run our activities from another county and we want to come clear that we will not give out our land even an inch,” said Lomenen.

Third Way Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot blamed the perennial boundary dispute at the area on politicians who want to use it to gain political mileage.

However, Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok said that the Boundary Dispute Bill is in the Senate and it will be addressed soon to end the land tussles among the two neighbouring Baringo and Turkana Counties.

“The boundary dispute bill is now at the senate and we are calling on the locals here to be calm because the issue will be addressed once and for all,” said Mr Nanok.