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Kiambaa church set for reconstruction, 14 years after tragedy

Well-wishers urged to provide financial support

At the site of the Kenyan Assembly of God church, where up to 50 people were burned alive on January 1. | Location: Kiambaa, Kenya. (Photo by Christophe Calais/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) Uasin Gishu branch is seeking financial support from well-wishers to rebuild the infamous Kiambaa church.

In an advert placed on a local daily, Bishop Joseph Kamau Mariko of KAG Uasin Gishu revealed they have been planning to rebuild, however, constant interference from politicians who were blamed for the brutal attack in 2008.

"The local well-wishers, have been planning to rebuild the sanctuary despite serious opposition from politicians blamed for the barbaric act that left a permanent scar." read the advert in part.

On January 2, 2008 at approximately 10:00 a.m. the church located south of Eldoret town was sealed off from outside and set alight. According to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), between 17 and 35 people lost their lives in the incident.

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In 2013, charges were placed against Deputy President William Ruto and Kass FM journalist Joshua Sang before the ICC, related to the church massacre where many people had taken refuge.

The ICC prosecution accused Dr Ruto, who at that time was Member of Parliament for Eldoret, of playing a major role in creating and directing the group that attacked the church.

He was accused of participating in the organization of criminal activities by a huge number of youth from his ethnic group, which he referred to as "his network".

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For the presidential elections at the end of 2007, Dr Ruto supported opposition candidate Raila Odinga against the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.

On the other hand, Sang, a well-known journalist, was accused of broadcasting calls before the elections to hunt down people in the same tribe as the then President.

He allegedly said that “If Kibaki wins, we will do our work”, which according to the prosecution meant chasing out and killing of nonlocals.

After the massacres started, Sang was also accused of signaling to the “network” several times where their 'enemies' were hiding.

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The 2007/2008 post-election violence left more than a thousand people dead across Kenya and more than 600,000 displaced, some of whom have still not returned to their homes.

In 2016, war crime judges threw out charges of crimes against humanity against the DP and his co-accused Sang but left the door open to a possible new trial.

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