Residents flee Matwiku area, Laikipia following banditry attacks

(Photo: Courtesy)

Hundreds of families have fled Matwiku area in Laikipia west following the rising cases of violence caused by banditry attacks.

This follows last Tuesday's incident when over 50 armed men invaded the village making away with over 20 heads of cattle.

The move forced the police who have been deployed in the area to carry out a mopping exercise at Laikipia Nature and Conservancy ranch where the rustlers were believed to be hiding.

But to the surprise of the security personnel, they found over 100 armed men within the ranch who overpowered them forcing them to retreat.

On Wednesday, the region was turned into a battle zone between the security personnel and the suspected rustlers who struck the area during day time at around 3 pm.

The incident forced Laikipia Gubernatorial aspirant and former Industrialization assistant minister Ndiritu Muriithi to cut short his campaigns in the region as he sought safety at Matwiku police post.

The raiders stormed several households in search of livestock and other valuables forcing the residents to flee from their homesteads.

Police deployed at Matwiku police post moved in when an exchange of fire ensued for the better part of the day.

According to Muriithi, this was the worst scenario that has been experienced in the recent past even in the presence of police personnel.

"We have spotted the rustlers who started shooting at us from a far when they spotted us. They have no fear and they are attacking the area even during the day," he said.

The former Laikipia west MP regretted that hundreds of families were being forced to sleep out at night due to fear of attacks.
He said that they hide at the vast Laikipia Nature and Conservancy ranch where the police and KDF officers were recently deployed to wipe out illegal herders who had invaded the ranch.

"We have to be told what is really happening in this area. We heard that police were deployed to the ranch but to our surprise, the rustlers are still invading peoples farms and stealing livestock," he noted.

The leaders called on the Inspector General of police Joseph Boinett to deploy more police officers in the region as those who had been deployed there were inadequate.

"This is a serious matter and more officers have to be deployed here. We read politics in these whole scenario as they want residents to vacate the area for political reasons," he said.

The aspiring Governor also blamed the police for failing to fully facilitate the officers by paying them risk allowances.