Suspected illicit alcohol dealers burn chief’s office - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 25 September 2020

Suspected illicit alcohol dealers burn chief’s office


A chief in Baringo North is living in fear after suspected illicit brew traders burned down his office on Wednesday night.

Chief Joseph Kipkulei of Katiorin location in Ossen-Kabartonjo ward woke up on Thursday morning to find his two-room timber office reduced to ashes after being set a blaze by unknown arsonists.

“Last Friday, we managed with the help of the village elders to arrest and handed to Kabartonjo police station three notorious sellers of illicit brews,” Kipkulei said.

He said they were then surprised how the suspects managed to leave police custody on Saturday without being arraigned.

“We suspect they might be the ones who planned to set my office on fire. The incident occurred around midnight and so nothing was salvaged,” Kipkulei said.

The incident happened barely two weeks after the chief together with village elders waged a war to demolish all illicit brew dens in Katiorin, Ewolel and Orokwo.

“We had all agreed enough is enough. We must all fight against the illegal trading of this second generation alcohol,” Lelian village elder Mohamed Cheboi said.

He added that no amount of intimidation including the burning of the chief’s office would stop them from pursuing the brewers. “We only ask the government to help reconstruct the chief's office urgently,” he said.

Cheboi said all forests within the area were awash with empty bottles of second generation liquor, endangering vegetation and livestock.

Angry residents demolish the dens of illicit brew at Katriorin location in Baringo North subcounty on August 21
Angry residents demolish the dens of illicit brew at Katriorin location in Baringo North subcounty on August 21

Two years ago, a senior chief from the same location in Ossen-Kabartonjo ward was hacked to death by a suspected illicit brews dealer during a crackdown.

Cheboi attributes the runaway insecurity in Baringo North and Central subcounties to rampant sale of illicit brews.

“We blame security officers for failing to arrest and prosecute them,” Cheboi said.

He wondered why all bars in Baringo North were open despite President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive that they be closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He lauded the efforts made by the local chiefs to eradicate the rampant sale of illicit brews and asked the government to support and provide them with security.

Cheboi said the worsening alcoholism situation has caused infertility among men leading to the closure of nursery schools for lack of children.

“The majority of kindergartens we have three or four children while others have been totally closed down due to lack of learners,” he said.

Resident Loise Kandie and elders Isaac Chepsergon and Micah Cheminingai blamed the county government of Baringo issuing bars with licences without proper inspection.

“We are tired of seeing our children loitering around day and night buying and drinking illicit alcohol. Some have engaged in criminal acts like breaking into people’s homes and stealing,” Kandie said.

Kipsaraman assistant county commissioner Timothy Maiyo said they were engaging the residents on possible ways to clear out illegal alcohol vendors.

Many Baringo youths are indulging in heavy drinking after earning some cash from the ongoing Kazi Mtaani programme.

Last week, Labour Principal Secretary Peter Tum urged young Kenyans to stop indulging in alcohol and spend their wages wisely.

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