Religious Leaders from Kericho and Kisumu Interfaith Network converging under the umbrella of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) have called for the restoration of peace, calmness and harmonious coexistence between the residents of Sondu town.

This follows a series of criminal elements that have terrorised Sondu and its environs leaving a trail of death, destruction of property, displacement of people, and panic among residents.

In a Joint statement released to the press after reflecting on the status of peace and security at the border of Kisumu and Kericho Counties, the leaders condemned the recent occurrence where more than four people lost their lives.

The clergy, led by Reverend Alfred Rotich, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kericho, the clergy called on the locals who are the inhabitants of Sondu town to remain calm and embrace the unity and peace that they have enjoyed for the past decades.

Dignity robbed by violence

Speaking during their visit to the affected victims of the clashes in Nyakach sub-county, Kisumu County, Reverend Rotich expressed his sadness noting that it is heartbreaking to see innocent children, mothers and fathers suffer because of an act of violence which has interfered with their dignity.

He stated that the presence of conflict in society should not be contested or be used for personal gain, but instead address the issues that result in conflict from the roots.

Reverend Alfred Rotich, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kericho

He challenged political leaders to help forge a positive way ahead for peace to prevail in the town, stating that the prevailing situation calls for political, security, and inter-community solutions through multi-stakeholder caucuses.

Bishop Hannington Okoth of Miracles and Wonders Churches Kenya, Nyanza region and a representative of IRCK Kisumu County chapter, said that it is only through peace that development can thrive.

He noted that the disruption of peace being experienced in Sondu if not checked will lead to loss of valuable resources including food and revenues, as people will be focused on squaring their differences instead of focusing on essential activities.

Deceptive dialogues

According to Sabina Matinde, the chairperson of the peace committee upper Nyakach division, as locals and immediate recipients of violence in Sondu, they will engage in a dialogue with both elders from Kisumu and Kericho to find a way of shedding light on the darkness that surrounds Sondu.

Matinde laments that there are a few people amongst them who after having peace dialogues, distort the information and spread rumours contrary to the agreements and peaceful resolutions made and that has fueled violence further.

Victims of Sondu clashes receives some of donation from the IRCK team who visited them.

Concurrently, Matinde emphasized that there is a need for the government to erect a General Service Unit Force (GSU) Camp at the border to help diffuse border conflicts.

His sentiments were echoed by Belinda Awino and Mustafa Mohamed both residents of Sondu town, who affirmed that there is a need for security presence at the border for peace to return to Sondu town.

They additionally called for the government to bring boundary commission and land surveyors to help in marking the border and restore the original beacons for long-lasting peace.

With the fate of resumption of peace in Sondu town still in limbo, the clergy appealed to state and non-state actors to step in and respond to the dire humanitarian situation resulting from the displacement of dozens of families mostly women and children from their areas of residence

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