Tears from the valley of death

Nadome on the border of Turkana and Baringo counties is truly the village from hell. Here, the harsh, indomitable beauty of the landscape forms a dramatic backdrop to the large scale murder, greed and government impotence demonstrated by the massacre of 54 people on Monday. The very idea of security in Nadome, which sits on the boundary between Turkana and Baringo counties, is laughable. The nearest security installation is a General Service Unit (GSU) camp at Nginy’ang, more than 95 kilometres away. There are no roads at all and water is a scarcity. Neither does the area have mobile phone coverage. A feeble effort by the police to reach the area was unsuccessful; they turned back and reported that there was no massacre because they could not find any bodies.

But there are bodies. The Daily Nation team counted 54 of them, rotting away in the oppressive heat. With the nearest health centre some 60 kilometres away — and obviously with no mortuary facilities — and no roads on which to move the dead, the villagers have left the bodies where they were felled, to be eaten by wild animals.

It is a pitiful sight of mothers, at least one of them pregnant, clutching desperately at young ones, even as they were mowed down with AK-47 fire.

If the police could not locate the bodies, how they are going to bring the killers to book and ensure security for the villagers is a miracle yet to be conjured. Journalists, among them a team from the Daily Nation, walked 20 kilometres over some of the harshest and most dangerous terrain, to reach Nadome, which administratively is in Silale ward in Tiaty Sub-County in Baringo County. It is some 300 kilometres from Marigat town.

But the village, like many others in the area, is the subject of a murderous dispute. It is mainly occupied by Pokots, the inhabitants of the neighbouring Baringo East constituency, in Baringo County. Villagers said 20 neighbouring villages have been invaded, the occupants slaughtered or scattered and the names of the villages changed.

Of the 54 people killed, 11 were children and women from two homesteads. Red Cross officials had to make a round trip of 40 kilometres on foot to reach the area. According to Naudo assistant chief David Arupe, who assisted journalists make the treacherous journey, the nearest medical facility is the Akwichatis Health Centre, more than 60 kilometres away. “Even if we opt to take the bodies to a mortuary, how will we transport the 54 where roads are impassable?” he asked.

Red Cross officials had brought body bags but could not take away the remains of the 54 because of the long distance and rough terrain. The Baringo County Referral Hospital mortuary in Kabarnet can hold 48 bodies. Perception in medical circles is that if the body of a Pokot is taken to the mortuary, nobody comes to claim it. The tradition in these harsh land seems to be to leave those killed where they died and move to safer ground.

The area is desolate and deserted, save for a few warriors driving away the few livestock remaining after more than 5,000 were stolen by raiders, estimated to be more than 400, on Monday night. Save for the Red Cross, the Daily Nation team saw no government security team or aid agency.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

ABOUT PDNK

Pastoralist Development Network - of Kenya

We are an advocacy NGO established under a Trust deed number 791 DI 4453128 in 2003. The network is a conglomeration of 60 pastoralists’ individuals, NGOs and CBOs and non-pastoralist institutions and individuals supporting pastoralists’ development process in Kenya. It draws its membership from North Rift, South Rift, North Eastern and Upper Eastern regions of Kenya representing 14 pastoralist Counties. Its mission is to lobby for the inclusion of the pastoralist agenda in mainstream development with the vision of a prosperous pastoralist society.

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