High-level security team dispatched to North Rift to curb rising insecurity

Police reservist takes cover during a past attack where bandits ambushed residents. (Standard)

The government yesterday dispatched a high-level security team to North Rift to end escalating insecurity in the region.

The move comes following continued deterioration of security in Baringo, West Pokot, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana and Laikipia counties due to cattle rustling and other criminal acts in the past two months. 

In a strongly worded statement, the government warned those inciting locals to violence and those in possession of illegal firearms that their time is up.

“There is escalation of inter-communal attacks leading to loss of lives and destruction of property due to incitement and firearms in wrong hands. We must root out all these elements,” read the statement.

The team comprising of the Secretary of Internal Security, GSU Commandant and the RDU Commandant has been dispatched to the area to curb further escalation of insecurity and criminal activities. 

The three will join the Rift Valley regional security team to reinforce operational responses and lead firm action against criminal elements in the area with a view to bringing those found culpable to justice.

“Kenya continues to be a beacon of peace in the region and the government is, therefore, committed to doing everything possible to bring lasting peace in the area and promote healing, reconciliation, and coexistence among the communities,” the statement read.

Two days ago, Laikipia ranchers expressed concern that recent attacks in Baringo might spill over to their farms.

This follows last Sunday's attack at Arabel in which two people were injured and an unknown number of cattle stolen.

The ranchers now fear that the attackers and their livestock might take refuge in their farms.

“The Government must take action before cases of insecurity in Baringo spill over to Laikipia,” said Laikipia Nature and Conservancy owner, Kuki Gallmann.

Ms Gallman said the bandits and their stolen animals end up converting the ranches into another battleground.

“I have in the past been a victim of insecurity in Baringo. The bandits normally hide in my farm and destroy everything that I have tried so hard to conserve,” said Ms Gallmann.

The ranchers said illegal herders were still grazing on their property.

“Why is the Government reluctant to kick them out? Who will compensate us for the losses we are suffering?” posed Lucy Jennings of Jennings Farm.

Last month, the herders shot and killed Ms Jennings’ chief security officer.