Divine Word Missionaries
Info & News
February 01, 2007 2:45 PM (??)
News from Eldoret, Kenya
Langas Catholic Parish, Eldoret
Dear Fr. General,
This few lines is to inform you about the situation in our parish since December 28, the day after the General Election in Kenya that that took place on the previous day.
You may know some worrying news from the TV stations. These however do not give the full picture of any particular place.
As you know, the winner of the presidential race was Mwai Kibaki. The opponent ,Mr. Raila Odinga however claimed the victory and did not accept the results claiming that elections were rigged.
As a result, many followers sympathized with the opposition that caused the eruption of riots in different parts of the country. Western Kenya was the stronghold of Mr. Odinga thus the problem is the most serious. Langas Parish is at the moment badly affected as the protest turned out to be based on ethic ground.
Organized groups of one ethnic community try to eliminate the other. Up to now many people have been brutally killed and dozens of homes and even villages have been burnt down.
Thousands of people are seeking refuge in police posts and churches. Last night we had more than 3000 people in the compound. The place is not prepared to handle such group. There is no food, sanitation, clean water. People live in fear as information comes so often about the possible raid. Church and the school have become sleeping rooms. We have been begging the police to provide us with minimum security but with no response. This morning there was a panic about the attack, fortunately it didn’t take place. People were addressed by the police officer and asked to go back home. Many have no homes any more, they were burnt. After an hour many started flocking back when they saw dead bodies in their places. At the moment the number of people has increased. The police still did not send any protection as protests are widely spread and they are not capable of handling the situation. In some of our outstations all houses were burnt, some lost their lives. The town of Eldoret is one of the few in the country hit with violence of such magnitude. Roads in and out are closed. There are no supplies of fuel and food. The remaining petrol stations are having very little fuel and are charging as much as $4.00 per liter.
We have no idea how long this situation will last.
Fr. Martin Cingel and Fr. Teodor Grzyska make everything possible to keep the situation in the compound under control. I, myself am with them (since I am working in the school and there are holidays, I joined them for Christmas) and there is another confrere, Fr.Joseph Ola Sabhe, also a doctor from Slovkia who works in the parish dispensary and a volunteer Peter, also from Slovakia. We haven’t moved out of the compound for the past few days. An attempt of Fr. Martin to go out and buy some food for the people was not successful as he was attacked by the group and was forced to go back. Luckily he wasn’t hurt.
This is the situation as of now and we have no idea what the night will bring.
We hope that all will end soon.
With greetings from all of us
Fr. Stanislaw Roz