Karamajong Head for Burnt Forest

Nation Media is reporting that over tens of thousands armed men are heading for Burnt Forest in Eldoret, a place historically associated with tribal clashes.

UPDATE: 23:07 GMT

From Kenyan Pundit who has been the most reliable source of information on events on the ground in Kenya…

“Approximately 40-50K people are holded up at the compounds of ST. PATRICKS CATHOLIC CHURCH and ARNESENS HIGH SCHOOLl, both in Burnt Forest. There is no running water, food and ELECTRICITY has been cut. THIS MEANS THAT PEOPLE CANNOT RECHARGE THIER CELL PHONES and soon we’ll not be able to contact them. Also, due to the chaos/anarchy in these compounds, means that people, especially women are not any safer than if they were out in the chaos. There has been reports of rapes and molestations. I’ve also heard that the Eldoret highway has been closed by thugs an d that there is no transportion, hence people cannot leave this area. My family in that area feels very helpless and we can only ask that we spread the world and try and get some security in the area.”

I’m wondering whether the military and the police are? Are they standing by watching while these incidents are going on? Hearing reports that the ignored calls for help when the church was being burnt? Does anyone have an idea what the government is doing in response as far as providing security to individuals in this area? And this is being alarmist but I’m beginning to wonder whether the government wants to fan the flames (remember Likoni clashes?).

A descent into civil war is now very likely – Scrub that written in a moment of high emotionality but this is unfolding with a grinding and relentless monotony. Deja vu. One word: Rwanda. I can’t understand why if Kibaki claims to be the newly elected leader of Kenya, why is he doing nothing? In the meantime, back in the UK the usual morons are asking whether it might be a good time to recolonize Africa for it’s own good!

UPDATE: 2nd Jan 2008 14:51 GMT Breaking News from Joseph Karoki’s blog:

This is a VERY important piece of information below. I think we now now what the two C-130’s that landed at Eldoret airport were carrying. There were carrying Karamajong.. the ones who are herding the 70,000 people into Burnt Forest and doing all the killing. Please see below….. A contingent of Karamojong guerrilla fighters are reported to have arrived in Eldoret town to join the struggle against Kibaki dictatorship. They are reported to have crossed Moi’s bridge to join forces fighting in the region. It is not yet clear how the guerrillas arrived in Eldoret but a source on the ground has told KSB that their arrival could signal the beginning of a guerrilla war-fare in Kenya to counter attacks by armed GSU forces which have been killing people. “People are getting frustrated and beginning to understand that on a long term, the anti-Kibaki war will not be fought with bare hands when security forces are armed”, said the source. “Security forces also need to begin dying and this will not happen with bare hands”, the source said. The guerrillas are reported to be remnants of the Shifta militia which were fighting the regime of former dictator Daniel arap Moi during the eighties. Others are believed to be hard-core members of the Karamojong who have been protecting cattle theft in the region after the government failed to provide protection. In North Eastern province, many pastoralists have stopped protecting their livestock with spears and arrows, choosing instead, to do so with AK 47 rifles. They changed tactics after armed bandits began killing people with automatic weapons then making away with large herds of cattle. In Kenya, the GSU are killing unarmed civilians following a “shoot to kill” order by Internal security chief John Michuki before being driven away in Land Rovers. Okoth Osewe

Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet reiterates earlier reports that some 20-30,000 people are sheltering in church and police compounds around Burnt Forest.

“People are being targeted and it is known which ethnic group is being targeted,” said Gullet. When asked to clarify, he said in the areas he visited, “it’s largely the Kikuyu ethnic group that’s being targeted.”

Gullet said that in some parts of the country even Red Cross workers, clearly identifiable as such by the emblem on their jackets, had also been challenged to declare their ethnicity.

The Red Cross video showed hundreds of people at Eldoret airport, which lies 20km from the town itself, who had been there “for the last few days, surrounded by 3,000 people from one ethnic group,” he added.

During the brief assessment flight, Gullet estimated he saw “hundreds” of homes and farms on fire.

“The people need assistance, but we cannot access them by road and we cannot airlift because the only viable aircraft are helicopters and they can only carry two tonnes,” he said, adding that the road blocks had led fuel supplies to run out in many towns.

Tens of thousands were reported to have crossed the border into Uganda for safety. These people need help and assistance now before this becomes yet another humanitarian disaster.

Where is Kibaki?

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