By Robert Kiplagat
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Assistant Minister William Cheptumo and a District Commissioner escaped death narrowly when they were attacked by suspected Pokot cattle rustlers.
It took the intervention of their security escort who engaged the assailants in a fierce gunfire exchange to rescue the two who were on tour of the area, in Cheptumo’s constituency prone to cattle rustling.
The incident which left the two shaken took place at Kamwetio area in Baringo North constituency where they had toured following frequent raids.
The incident which angered the minister prompted him to threaten to quit if the government fails to address cattle rustling and banditry in his constituency.
The MP said there was no need serving in government while his people continue losing lives and livestock to bandits.
"It does not help me or my people to be in government while injustice is being meted on them and other pastoralist communities," he told The Standard.
He said it was high time the president declared cattle rustling a national disaster due to the magnitude of suffering undergone by the community.
"The insecurity situation in pastoralist and arid areas in Rift Valley have been deteriorating as governments continue ignoring their plight for years," said Cheptumo.
The MP cited the cattle rustling in his constituency as the most ignored situation by all governments for the last 35 years.
"If the DC who is guarded by armed officers cannot be safe, how about an ordinary mwananchi?" wondered Cheptumo.
"The government needs to seriously address this issue as these communities depend entirely on livestock for livelihood," he added.
He said the country’s Vision 2030 cannot be achieved if other Kenyans; pastoralist communities face economic crisis accrued as result of government’s failure to provide security to its citizens.
A week earlier, a 35-year-old man was hospitalized after he was shot and critically injured when armed suspected Pokot cattle rustlers attacked Ng’aratuko village in Baringo North district.
The victim, James Chesut was herding his animals before being ambushed by the bandits who shot him severally breaking his legs and waist.
Witnesses say the raiders struck the village at around 11am Saturday but did not manage to steal anything from the village.
The injured was rushed to Marigat district hospital by villagers and later referred to Nakuru Provincial General Hospital for advanced treatment.
A week after the incident, bandits attacked Kamwetio and Kapturo villages in the area and made away with 13 cows and 22 goats.