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State sets aside Sh100m to bail out victims of cattle theft menace

By Kipsang Joseph and Mercy Kahenda | Updated Wed, March 1st 2017 at 09:57 GMT +3

Deputy President William Ruto with Inspector General of police Joseph Boinet and Rift Valley Regional commissioner Wanyama Musyambu hold a security meeting at Arabal, Baringo County. (Photo: DPPS)

The Government has set aside Sh100 million to compensate victims of cattle rustling, Deputy President William Ruto has announced.

Mr Ruto further said that the Government will support school children by allocating Sh5 million to parents whose livestock have been stolen.

Speaking at Kipsaraman in Baringo North, an area that has been attacked several times by bandits, the deputy president said an operation to flush out the bandits and restore peace will start today. He revealed that the Government has deployed 381 security personnel in the area.

The officers, assisted by two armoured personnel carriers, air surveillance and 151 recently recruited Kenya Police Reservists, are to fight the criminals.

"With the ongoing recruitment of more police reservists, it is now clear that we have stepped up efforts aimed at curbing crime and ending the practice of cattle rustling which has no room in this 21st century," said Ruto.

 ILLEGAL FIREARMS

Ruto said the Government will not condone killings that continue to cause tension among locals and business community in the vast county.

"As the Government we want to root out and eliminate all criminals armed with illegal firearms who are fond of distracting normal operations and peace enjoyed by locals," he said.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, who accompanied Ruto, said officers deployed in the area will work tirelessly to bring cattle rustling to an end.

Boinnet said he was optimistic the police reservists will complement the work of other security officers in the region.

"I am confident that these police reservists will help other security personnel in confronting the challenge of cattle rustling as they understand the area well," he said.

The police operation, according the officials, will cover Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Turkana.

Further, the Deputy President warned that herders who have invaded others' land in search of pasture will be kicked out.

"Those who have crossed over to neighbouring counties or sub-counties and displaced landowners will be driven back to their homes. We will not allow other people to raid others' homes and occupy them on the pretence of searching for pasture," he said.

He assured locals that the Government will deal with cattle rustlers who take advantage of water and pasture conflict to indulge in crime.

"Those who have made cattle rustling their source of income should find something else to do as those caught risk long jail terms. We have already arrested 25 cattle rustlers and their cases are on," he said.

He further said that the government will open police camps in Nga'ratuko, Kagir, Yattia, Chepkesin and Kinyach in Baringo North to help end the menace.

Last week, bandits raided Ng'orora location and killed area Chief Thomas Chebor, a few kilometres from where the deputy president was holding his security meeting.

The chief was pursuing the raiders who had stolen livestock, when he was shot dead.

Ruto issued a shoot-to-kill order against the raiders following killing of the chief and other civilians.

"Criminals will pay dearly for killing innocent people. Any criminal who kill and loot property should not be speared but rather be killed," Ruto said during the tour after he was forced to cut short his speech by gunshots heard in the vicinity.

While speaking in Elgeyo Markwet County, Ruto further asked leaders to stop politicising security issues.

He said the leaders should work together in confronting the insecurity occasioned by banditry and cattle rustling.

Addressing a meeting at Chesongoch Catholic Church after inaugurating the first group of 200 newly recruited police reservists, Ruto asked politicians to stop taking advantage of the suffering to score "cheap political goals".



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