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End the senseless killings in Baringo

By The Standard | Published Fri, March 17th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 16th 2017 at 23:59 GMT +3

A five-year-old girl in Marigat, Baringo County, is nursing a head wound inflicted, no doubt, by a panga-wielding adult who wanted her dead.

Another girl, aged six years, is nursing gunshot wounds after bandits attacked homes in Mukutani, killing 11 people on Wednesday. It is difficult to imagine what dark forces can drive an adult to attack defenceless, frightened children.

And on Tuesday, bandits ambushed a police vehicle at Nosukro in Baringo South, killing two women. The raid at Mukutani prompted the Kenya Red Cross Society to ask for police reinforcement from Nairobi.

Only a few weeks ago, a Kenya Red Cross relief food truck was hijacked, forcing temporary suspension of the charity’s operations. On the same day, a Standard Group crew were waylaid by gun-wielding bandits in Sibilo. They were lucky to wriggle out of death’s jaws.

Nothing is sacred to the bandits, not even senior government officials. They shot at a vehicle carrying Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo as the officials led efforts to evacuate pupils stranded at Mukutani Primary School. Authorities have watched as cattle-rustling once a cultural pastime, metastasise into a criminal enterprise.

This cannot be allowed to go on. These senseless killings must stop and this can only happen if the government stops the rhetoric and goes after the bandits hammer and tongs.

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It is easy to conclude that the killings have something to do with politics and the fact that they usually peak during election years cannot be a coincidence. The role of politicians in the skirmishes in the bandit-hit areas must be investigated.

The police vehicles and armoured personnel carriers that were recently purchased should be put to good use to restore security in areas such as Baringo, otherwise the government risks losing credibility in its ability to protect the people and property. A recent security operation conducted in the area seems to have achieved little except ignite even more vicious attacks.

It is the wish of every Kenyan to live in peace. It is no wonder that many have asked why the government cannot exhibit the same zeal it has in Somalia to ensure the safety of Kenyans. No effort or expense should be spared to ensure that tranquillity is restored.