KenyaJanuary 5, 2008
I post below an email message from Caesar Wamalika of the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton – a Seventh-day Adventist university in Kenya.
“Subject: Report from CAESAR WAMALIKA at our SDA BARATON University, Eldoret, KENYA To: talkback-forum@ yahoogroups. com From: wamalika@yahoo. com Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 01:16:32 -0800 Subject: [talkback-forum] Going Through Nightmare of Ethnic War – Baraton, Kenya Dear Talkback Forum, I wish to share with you the terror and nightmare we are going through of Ethnic War. I am emailing from Baraton and the situation is bad! It all began soon after lection results were announced! Then several groups of community around broke into war songs. They broke into the shopping center next to the university and looted all the shops that belong to Kikuyus and Kisiis. Then they broke into rented off campus houses of students. A crowd of about 1,000 people surged to the university gate and wanted to storm the university. They demanded that all Kikuyus, Kambas, Meru, and Kisii people leave the university within two hours. That was the only way to save the university from being stormed. They remained at the gate until it would be seen done. About three armed policemen arrived and spent time negotiating with the crowd. Finally the police advised us to evacuate the named ethnic groups. We put the faculty and students numbering about 250 into three university vehicles and were taken to Kapsabet Police station under police escort. They are still there as at now. A few of us are on campus! The Division tried to evacuate those from Kapsabet Police Station to Eldoret international Airport but the next road block was a no-go-zone. In spite of the police escort, the university buses had to return to Kapsabet. The is no way anyone can get out. One baraton group is holed up at Kapsabet police station while faculty members from Luo and Luhyia community, international workers and students are holed up within the campus. Those at Kapsabet have no food or water. The worst fear is not so much of food but possibility of police station being stormed. The police are few and overstretched. We have been having threats a almost daily at campus. On one occasion, we had to give out a bull for them to slaughter and guarantee us peace. Then they came and demanded milk which we also gave. Then we succeed in pleading with the militia to allow us transport food to those at police station. They allowed us first day and we transported it on varsity tractor. It took three hours to go through road blocks to reach Kapsabet which is only 15 kilometers away. I attended a meeting yesterday with commanders and militia leaders who came to meet university administration. We confirmed that Militia had had their own meeting and resolved that on humanitarian ground, faculty with kids and pregnant mothers be allowed to return to campus. They also told us students of other communities should come back. It sounded good news. We shock hands. We asked them to transport food to Kapsabet. They agreed and used their own vehicles. But the food never arrived. The militia who were escorting the food we beaten and vehicles destroyed. The fact that you negotiate with one militia group, remember the next and several others groups have their own policy. It is like you need visa to cross several of them. We have about 130 Kisii students and workers stranded at police station but cant leave for home. I know of Mr Obuchi whose wife is pregnant! I know of Pr Elijah Njagi and wife, Nyarangi and wife, etcThey are sleeping in the grass and some in university bus parked at the police station. There is no food and I have never witnessed this. As I write this email, have just been informed that a crowd came to university gate 15 min ago and demanded that we go out and join them in mass demonstration in the street. That means we shall be put on front line to meet the armed police. University PRO has negotiated with them and the crowd has now chained the university main gate, locked it and gone with the key. No vehicle an come in or go out. We pray that they don’t come to force us out. It is a nightmare to meet them. All of them are armed with machetes, rungus, arrows and bows. Some are drunk and others baying for blood. I have never seen this! We are fear frozen and prayer takes a new meaning! My home is 100 km from here but how do you pass those road blocks? We have Luo workers who want to get out but we hear the Kisii are grouping to fight Luos on Kisii/Luo border. We are boxed in. The road blocks are manned by not less than 500 people. The road block at Cheptrit has a thousand youth manning it. Police told us that Mosoriot has ten thousand worriers camping there. It is a no-go-zone. We have no where to buy food, no calling cards available, no fuel! But we are finding a new meaning in prayer. I hope I can keep updating you of what is happening at Baraton. You can get from internet what could be happening in other parts like Eldoret, Kakamega and Kisumu. I have to leave for a crisis meeting to try and avert any attack on the campus. I hope internet access will remain open so that I can keep updating you. I can see helicopter flying over us but seems to be passing again! American Embassy called yesterday for the sake of their citizens. This is a no-go-zone! We need to be evacuated from here! Promises of safety from some militia groups cannot be trusted. You need to be here to feel it. Whatever the political argument, it is a nightmare! The ground issue is not how you voted but ethnic affiliation. Some are using it to settle personal scores! There were some leaflets from one group saying that all non-Nandis get ready to leave. Other Militia groups say no. But God still keeps us safe! From: Caesar Wamalika University of Eastern Africa, Baraton 14 Mwalimu Drive P.O. Box 2500, ELDORET 30100, KENYA, EAST AFRICA. Tel.: 254-734-429- 326 (Mobile)”
We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror. (Jeremiah 8:15)
Dona nobis pacem.