Lukas Pkech

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Lukas Pkech led the Pokot warriors in a final assault against the British at Koloa in April 1950. The fight, now known as the Koloa Massacre, proved that the Pokot were willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom.

In the early 1940s, having largely escaped the colonial domination, the Pokot faced a new challenge. The British administration introduced livestock quotas and tried to promote some form of crop husbandry. The Pokot viewed this as an affront to their way of life and began fomenting trouble.

That was when Lukas Pkech stepped forward to lead his people in resisting the British. Born in 1915 in West Suk, Pkech was an adherent of Dini ya Msambwa led by Elijah Masinde. In August 1949, Pkech and other Pokot men were charged and jailed for sentences ranging from 30 months to life imprisonment. The harsh sentences were in part to suppress the Pokot resistance.

Pkech escaped from jail in early 1950 and became a legend. His message was clear: the Pokot would not obey livestock quotas and pay taxes for their cattle. Pkech roamed the countryside, gaining followers.

On April 24, 1950 at Koloa, Pkech and 300 of his followers made a last-stand against British troops. Despite the mismatch between the British fire power and their home-made guns, the Pokot warriors held their ground.

When the guns fell silent, the brave Pokot leader and 28 of his followers lay dead, as did four police officers. Today, a small monument of a dove and a cross stand at the site.