Kajiado, Kenya | Xinhua | Four Kenyans were killed Thursday 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.
“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.
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 km 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.
Locals have constantly called on the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to find a lasting solution to the human-wildlife conflict in Kajiado county.
Farmers lament that the animals, mostly elephants, invade their farms and destroy crops.