The fourth prosecution witness in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang described an attack he said took place 200 meters from his house.
The attack took place in an area called Langas near the town of Eldoret during the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential poll. The witness testified on Thursday with his identity concealed from the public in the same way the previous witnesses’ identities were hidden from the public. The blinds of the public gallery were closed whenever the witness entered or left court and a screen hide him from view of those in the public gallery. His voice was distorted to make it difficult to identify him and in the court’s video stream his image was also distorted.
Testifying under a pseudonym as Witness 376, he said that the attack involved more than 10 men between the ages of 18 and 21 who wore their t-shirts around their waists and had bows and arrows and spears. He said that directing the men, whom he called the Kalenjin warriors, was another older man he knew. He said the man was more than 40 years old and spoke to the attackers as well as made hand signs. The witness identified him as number two on a list of pseudonyms the prosecution provided him. Lists of pseudonyms are provided to the witnesses who are testifying under protective measures in court to enable them name persons they may know well without revealing their own identity.
Witness 376 said that he later witnessed a group of young Kikuyu men surround a man who they suspected to be one of the Kalenjin warriors responsible for an earlier attack. He said that the suspected Kalenjin warrior was killed.
He also testified that he later lived in a camp for those displaced in the violence that was set up at the showground of Eldoret. He described the conditions in the camp as “pathetic.” He left the camp in May 2008 when the government began a program to move people displaced in the post-election violence back to their homes or resettle them elsewhere.
Much of the hearing Thursday was held in private session to allow the witness share information that would have otherwise identified him to the public. Ruto and Sang face three counts of crimes against humanity each for their alleged role in the violence that shook Kenya over five years ago.