8 killed and 15 maimed because of a Heifer


As the heifer above chews the cud oblivious of the fresh graves around it, grieving families in Narok South wish they had said: “After all it is only a cow.”
Too late. Eight people have died, 15 maimed and more than 20 houses burnt in ethnic violence that started after a family reported the Sh20,000 heifer stolen.
The mystery cow is like the golden calf which in biblical times caused misery to the entire nation of Israel.
Never has so much blood been shed for so less. Narok South has not known peace for days. Scores are sleeping out in the cold. They have no homes. Eight people are dead, 15 will be scarred for life. All this because of a heifer.
It all started last Saturday morning when Mzee Philip Patum in his 50s woke up, strolled to his cattle shed and found his favourite cow missing.
Alarmed, he raised alarm causing his neighbours to regroup believing the cow had been stolen.
According to officers pursuing the matter, Mzee Patum described his ‘stolen’ cow, which is now at the epicenter of the ethnic fighting, as a cross-breed heifer.
“That cow was my life, it provided me with milk and was able to breed and bring me more cattle,” says Patum.
The Standard visited the area to get at the bottom of the matter that has rekindled animosity whose current phase dates back to 2018.
Skirmishes started at Olooruasi village then spread to the neighbouring villages of Ololoipang’i and Kaplulekule where the two communities fought with bows and arrows, spears and even guns.
Following a tip-off from members of the public after the flare-up, Mzee Patum and a neighbour were arrested, driven to Ololung’a police station and arraigned at a Narok Law Court where the police sought more time to investigate the matter before preferring charges but the court released them for lack of water-tight evidence.
Area Deputy Commissioner Felix Kisalu calls the heifer angle a myth as the narrative around it changes by the day.
According to Kisalu, Patum insists that his cow was stolen but criminal intelligence indicates that the man’s wife and son had connived to hide the animal at their neighbour’s, which neighbour is from a different community, to save it from being sold by the man of the house.
“When we arrested the owner of the cow and a neighbour, the rest of the family failed to turn up raising suspicions,” says Mr Kisalu


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