Six people were injured on Tuesday in a clash between supporters and opponents of the proposed Sh30 billion Arror dam in Elgeyo Marakwet county.
A public participation meeting turned violent, opposing groups threw stones at each other and police fired teargas to disperse the fighting groups.
Crowds and police fought running battles for six hours at Arror River Bridge. One group opposed construction, saying residents were not consulted. The other supported it.
Marakwet West police boss Apollo Onyonyi said the crowd calmed down, but fighting broke out again in the afternoon, and police used tear gas a second time.
Two people who were badly injured were rushed to Kapsowar Mission Hospital. Four others were taken to Kipsaiya Health Centre. Onyonyi said one of the injured, who was hit by a stone on the head, was referred to a private hospital in Eldoret town.
He said the police are questioning three people. “Suspects [behind] the chaos are well known to security agencies. We will arrest and arraign them in court,” Onyonyi said. Those opposed to the dam later held a demonstration after the crowd dispersed.
Officials of Kerio Valley Development Authority, who were to preside over the meeting, arrived in the evening and convened at Hossen Secondary School. KVDA is overseeing construction of the multipurpose dam.
MD David Kimosop was asked why KVDA has not consulted the community. Annah Chelimo asked why they have not seen a map showing the dam’s boundary. “How will we know those to be evicted for the dam if you don’t give us a map?” she asked.
Kimosop said KVDA will provide information in later meetings. “I assure you adequate compensation will be done. I am your son and will not implement this to your disadvantage.”