News / Africa

Kiambaa Kenyans Reflect on Past Election Violence

Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
x
Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
— Five years ago during election-related violence in Kenya, young people brutally attacked and burned a church in Kiambaa - which housed ethnic Kikuyus who fled from their farms and houses. Today, on the eve of another election, locals remembered the tragedy at a church service.
 
Worshipers sang at Kiambaa Church in Eldoret, in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. It was here in early 2008 when young men from the Kalenjin and Kikuyu tribes fought around the church, which housed hundreds of people who had fled their homes during the initial post-election violence.
 
According to some of the witnesses and survivors, about 200 Kikuyu men tried to defend their women and children inside the church.
 
After more than an hour fighting, they say the Kikuyu men were overpowered by more than 1,000 Kalenjin youths who were attacking the church from all directions.
 
Anne Mwangi, now 44, is one of the people in the church who survived that day with her four children.
 
She says when she escaped the church the attackers grabbed her hand and said they were trying protect her while she looked for her children. She says when she reached the gate, she was shocked when she saw an old man hacked to death with an axe.
 
Peter Mwangi is the son of the man who hacked to death that day. Mwangi says he and his father were among the people who tried to fight back and defend their families being attacked inside the church.
 
The father of two says when they were overpowered he and other young men tried to run to the main road to call for help.
 
He says it took two hours for the police to arrive and chase the attackers away. After that, he says they saw their people had been burned to death in the church and some killed outside.
 
Lingering fears

In this election the political landscape is different as Kikuyu and Kalenjin are united in the Jubilee alliance.
 
But for Peter Mwangi, the grief of his loss then is as real as his fear today. He says he could not go back to point out where his father was killed because of possible reprisals from some of his neighbors.
 
He says the locals are from different tribes, and some of his neighbors are not good people. He says he fears they will think he is giving out information on the attackers and it is best not to speak about it.
 
Paul Karanja is a pastor in the new church, built 10 meters from where the original church was burned down. He says this community did not get enough help from the police following the last elections and there is little faith the response will be better if there is election violence again.
 
“We thought policemen could help [protect] us from the attacks, although they did not. Houses were burned when police were there. They were just shooting up [in the air], but they were doing nothing else…”
 
Human-rights organizations have also raised concerns about the ability of the Kenyan police to handle possible election-related violence. But security officials have assured Kenyans this time that they are ready and up to the task.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert Samuel from: South Sudan-Yambio
March 04, 2013 4:13 AM
I,m appealing to all Kenyan community during this election,please you need to vote peacefully without violation as it was in the past election.why can,t we African practice Democracy in Africa?and i,m also asking our government of south sudan to have UNITY and avoid division among the youth of the New Nation.and go for peaceful and demorcratic election in 2015.UNITE we Stand,Divide we FALL.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid