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Kenyan police on high alert after attack by militia group in Cheptais

BUNGOMA, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Security officers in Western Kenya’s Cheptais region are on high alert following claims of regrouping of dreaded militia group blamed for the killing of eight people in the past three days.

Suspected fighters of Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) attacked two villages and executed two elderly men and three minors.

The victims were shot dead and two girls hacked to death by the gun-and-matchet-wielding gang in Masaek and Kutere areas of in Kopsiro Division in the troubled Chepyuk Settlement Scheme.

Angry residents lynched three suspected SLDF fighters in Murwani Village on Tuesday morning as they attempted to flee from the scene of the attack.

Stephen Momanyi, Cheptais Deputy County Commissioner said security agents are on the watch out to deal with the militants. 

“We suspect that the former fighters of the SLDF are on a revenge mission, targeting people who they suspect might have leaked their names to the security apparatus,” he said.

“We will deal with these elements mercilessly,” Momanyi said. The official said some residents had refused to hand over their illegal guns and they could be using them in the attacks.

He announced impending operation to retrieve illegal guns in the hands of the civilian.      

The illegal militant group was responsible for the deaths of more than 600 people and displacement of 66,000 others between 2006 and 2008 before it was crushed by the army.   

The government administrator asked area residents to identify the people they suspect to possess illegal firearms.

“We are warning people who are still in possession of illegal guns to surrender them to the security agencies before an operation to flush out suspects and forcibly get those illicit weapons is launched. We want people to live in peace, not in fear,” he said.

A local right organization Elgon Sisters said renewed killing has caused fear among the locals and investors.

“We are asking the government to address this issue once and for all. It is painful to lose lives through such crude ways,” said Emily Chepkuto, the organization’s chairperson.

SLDF was defeated in 2008 when its ring leader Wycliffe Matakwei was killed by the Kenya Army deployed to the region. The militia group took up arms after its members were dissatisfied with land allocations in the scheme.

On Wednesday, security officials urged residents to remain calm as the government tracks down SLDF militia.



At least 8 killed in clashes in western Kenya

BUNGOMA, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Kenya’s western region on Tuesday confirmed that eight people were killed in Bungoma country a suspected revenge attack.

Bungoma County Commissioner Joshua Chepcheing’ said the killing happened in Masaek village, in Cheptais Sub County, Monday night.

A gang attacked the village and killed two elderly men and three minors with machetes. Later villagers pursued the attackers and managed to lynch three as others escaped, the official told Xinhua.

Chepcheing’ said the motive of the attack had not been established. Villagers said they heard gunshots before realizing that the village was under siege from the attackers.

Unverified report indicates that the attack was revenge over the killing of three people in the area two months ago.

“The attackers opened fire in the homestead to scare the people before slashing to death the five victims. We don’t know why they killed the two men and the minors,” said Peter Ndiema, a resident.



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