Residents of Katiorin location in Baringo North Sub County, Baringo County, on Wednesday morning woke up to reality of their chief’s camp being razed down by unknown arsonists.
Astonished residents who spoke to the press at the scene said they suspect notorious dealers of second generation brews arrested over the weekend and shortly released to be behind the arson incident.
Location community policing chairperson Kiptirim arap Cheboi said that Nyumba Kumi elders in collaboration with office of the chief have for the past three months engaged in a crackdown to weed out sale of second generation alcoholic drinks in the area and they suspect that some of the culprits might have retaliated by burning the administrative office.
“Last weekend over ten individuals were apprehended and taken to Kabartonjo and Kabarnet police stations, after they were found engaging in the illicit alcohol business but later released before appearing in court and we suspect that they are the ones who might have razed the chief’s camp which has all their criminal records,” he alleged.
Mzee Cheboi noted that the sale of contraband drinks in the sub county was on the rise despite the government’s ban on such business because most of the sellers and buyers disregard the Covid-19 protocols.
A village elder, Micah Cheminingai, added that the chief and the elders have been championing for an alcohol free community because they had noted that most of the youth within the area are idle and engage in excessive alcohol consumption which has rendered them economically unproductive and to some extent, becoming zombies.
Loice Kandie living next to the chief’s office said she heard their dog bark loudly at around 2:30am and on coming out to check what was happening she was surprised to see the government office on fire.
Ms Kandie stated that she raised an alarm and residents responded but they could not salvage anything since the timber structure had completely been consumed by the raging inferno.
She urged the government to expedite investigations with a view to reconstructing the office to save them the agony of trekking long distances to Kabartonjo or Tirimionin which is about 10 kilometres away to seek services.
Kipsaraman assistant county commissioner (ACC) Timothy Maiyo, rushed to the scene and condemned the heinous act confirming, nothing was salvaged from the timber office.
Mr Maiyo said no suspect has so far been arrested adding that they have launched investigations to establish the motive behind the torching.
The ACC who was accompanied by ward and sub county administrators and criminal investigation officers, convened an impromptu baraza at the scene to try to gather information that will help in apprehending the suspected criminals.
Local chief Joseph Kulei expressed dismay over the huge loss adding that no single item was recovered during the inferno.
By Benson Kelio/Joshua Kibet