Four persons have been killed on Thursday in Kenya after police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Kajiado County, the eastern part of the country.
Mashuru police commander Charles Chepkong’a said seven others were injured and admitted to a local hospital following the fracas in the Masimba area, Africanews reported.
“Three were killed at the scene while the fourth died in hospital,” the police commander said.
Chepkong’a said the group was protesting against the persistent invasion by wildlife animals in the area. According to him, an elephant had apparently killed a teacher in the area and locals were angered by a lack of action from authorities.
The locals also said the perennial wildlife invasion had caused the destruction of property in the area.
“Elephants are causing destruction every day, and our children are not going to school as they are killed by elephants all the time and all the schools are closed due to the elephant invasion.” a Kajiado resident said.
The issue escalated with residents burning tires and barricading the busy Nairobi-Mombasa highway for hours, leading to major traffic that stretched for more than five kilometres and paralyzed operations.
The incident forced police to intervene using force after the group used stones to block the road as others sat there stalling operations along the busy highway.
Several women from the pastoral Maasai community flanked by other villagers carried banners and chanted slogans saying “we don’t want elephants” as they barricaded the road with stones and trees.
Motorists were forced to scamper for safety after the demonstrators turned chaotic.
“The police have killed us and we have suffered. Some women were pregnant, and are suffering from the tear gas used by the police. People are being killed.” one of the protesters lamented.
It would be recalled that in December last year, a pack of hyenas killed two people over a span of 24 hours in a village just 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Due to this reoccurrences, residents have repeatedly called on the Kenya Wildlife Service to find a solution to the conflicts between people and animals.