Monday, 15 October 2012


REVISITING THE HORRORS OF SABAOT LAND DEFENCE MILITIA IN MOUNT ELGON, KENYA "…Komon's family having succumbed to a major loss, produced a sizeable number of would- be militia men. Idle youths joined hands with the groups. Soon, they headed deep in the forest. Former GSU personnel, David Sigei did train the soldiers. Wycliffe Komon Matakwei was his right hand man. All were being inspired by the illusion that they will be rewarded by huge plots of land after the ensuing battle. For such an illusion to be a reality, they needed to wipe out the entire Ndorobo sub tribe, destroy their properties and own their animals as well! In late 2005, a chilling order from a commandant of newly formed Sabaot Land Defense Force began to be effected. School going boys and girls were rounded in the evening and taken for further instructions. Had the enemy not plotted a scheme to do away with them all? They had nowhere to go – yet, the guns and machetes lay waiting for them on the other side. Some fled. They were traced and brutally murdered at the hands of the fierce force. More willing men joined the force. Dozens left their families to fight for the land. Deep in the forest, the force trained in military warfare. Military hardware exchanged hands, others crossed over from the loose Uganda – Kenya border. Under the dreadful Wycliffe Matakwei, the Sabaot Land Defense Force grew beyond control. David Sigei offered his best training. Elias Bera oversaw financial matters, and soon, sponsors were in their hundreds. Civil servants were forced to part with something or else face the music. From Chebwek, Cheptais to Suam in Endebes- the force was now felt like a live wire! Alive and walking vibrantly. Camps were established with complete authorities. An offensive was then immediately launched. By mid 2006, the vigor of the force had seen hundreds of lives lost and properties worth millions of shillings, completely destroyed! Houses were torched, Tororo alongside Kopsiro, wantonly destroyed. The slopes witnessed uncountable beheadings and untold sufferings. Even animals were not spared. Mongrels were beheaded or their limbs amputated mercilessly! The director of the horror movie heaved with ecstasy at the sight, and ordered even more bloodshed! There was no way to survive… gunshots were heard all over. Premises were reduced to mere ashes. Thousands ran for dear lives. Raiders from both camps would take off with what their might could allow them to carry, rape helpless elderly women, and took away their daughters and granddaughters. Whatever happened to them, no one will ever get to know! Vigorous fields that were once the cradle of farming, slowly turned idle. Established centers were converted into battle fields. Schools were hideouts and sites for massive damage and loss of both lives and properties. Beyond the impenetrable forest yonder, the enemy kept planning how best to avenge. The now cruel Sabaot Land Defense Force militia men took more lives. Finally, their date with ill timed fate had dawn, and it was the best opportunity to settle their scores…and more and more bloodshed was the way forward! Apparently, it was the most suitable means of healing their eternal wound…a wound that had ever seen years of bleeding. Matakwei’s boys will fight to death. More and more heeded his call. More were given blessings by Mzee Songoiywo; more took the oath with such great enthusiasm. And the killings continued. The horror movie was there to stay indeed!" That was years ago; the memories are still vivid, the agony much alive and the scars visible in many a face. Many then could eat when something solid was availed, and sleep hungry when there was none. Dozens of families were uprooted from their homes and were headed to safer zones where scores of others were arriving every night, in fear of fresh attacks. There was no place to call home anymore. Across the awesome land, beyond the spell binding and beautiful highlands; rapes, mutilations and communal violence gripped the country with such awesome might. Every male wore a solemn face in the slopes. Every female was worried- sure to lose their beloved anytime. One could read the signs in their foreheads. It was there all the time. Nobody was permitted to mourn their loved ones. Corpses were hurriedly thrown into three feet holes and a few munches of soil thrown inside. Others were left in the vandalized houses where stray dogs soon found comfort! You could wish it was not real- yet it was. It was happening every hour, every minute and in every corner of the slopes. The once fertile plots lay idle. Without food, the entire community will be a forgotten thing indeed! We are much wiser now; we’ve seen the effect, felt the consequences and realized it was never worth it from the beginning. We have learnt the hard way and never again are we going to tread in that coarse path; never again are we going to meekly heed the call of the cheats, evil and shrewd politicians so we can maim, kill & butcher our very own mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. We must now embrace brotherhood, peace, love and unity…we must walk the talk and preach good-will! It is either today or never again! Join me and let us save innocent lives at stake! © 2012 Cheruo Levi Cheptora

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