Heavily armed cattle raiders attacked Lukuget Sub-location in Kerio Valley as rustlers continued to unleash terror in the region. The attackers reportedly from the neighbouring Tiaty Constituency in anger for failing to steal any animal set ablaze several livestock bomas on Thursday night.
Area Assistant Chief Bernard Maiyo said the bandits torched the animal sheds before a gunfire with security officers ensued. One raider was shot dead as the others fled towards the Kerio River.
“Residents, for fear of more attacks have moved their animals to safer areas up in the Kerio escarpments and the bandits resorted to burning the desolate bomas, believing the owners were hiding inside,” said the administrator. And in an unprecedented move, the attackers have extended the animal attacks up to the highlands, stealing over 50 cows at Kamologon and Embobut areas.
"The move by the bandits to raid areas in the Marakwet highlands may have been informed by an ongoing security operation to flush out bandits in Baringo County,” said Kapyego MCA Benson Kiptire.
Locals in Nosukuro, Kiserian and Loruk in Baringo were evacuated on Monday as police began an operation to smoke out bandits who allegedly attacked security officers, torching four police stations. “We ask our youth not to revenge by stealing animals from the neighbouring community and instead allow elders to resolve the issue,” Mr Kiptire told The Standard on Saturday.
He said Marakwet residents and their Pokot South counterparts have lived peacefully since 1998. “This banditry menace has been happening in Kerio Valley. It should not be allowed to take place in the highlands, where locals have lived peacefully for over 18 years,” he added.
At the same time police in Marakwet East have launched investigations into a series of banditry attacks on the home of former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo’s home in Kerio Valley.
The suspected Pokot bandits raided the former IG’s home situated at Tot yesterday at dawn, stealing hundreds of livestock. Two herders escaped unhurt as the raiders sprayed bullets into the house they were sleeping in. Marakwet East Police boss Emmanuel Rono said police recovered 12 goats during the morning raid.
“Our officers, in collaboration with the Kenya Police Reservists repulsed the raiders and recovered 12 goats. One bandit believed to be from Baringo East was killed,” he said.
Kimaiyo, who is vying for Elgeyo Marakwet senatorial seat said the attacks may have been politically instigated to derail his ambitions.
“This is an attempt aimed at scaring me, especially after I announced my intention to contest for a political seat,” he said. He said the police are yet to recover the remaining 38 goats which he claims have been taken to Baringo East.