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Military operation extended to Laikipia County

COUNTIES
By Vincent Mabatuk and James Munyeki | Nov 7th 2014 | 2 min read

The ongoing disarmament and hunt for cattle rustlers who killed 21 police officers in Baringo has now been extended to Laikipia County.

This comes as seven more guns were surrendered by suspected killers in Kapedo, bringing the number of firearms recovered so far to 16. Five are still missing.

Yesterday evening, air force helicopters launched aerial surveillance at the Laikipia Nature and Conservancy Ranch in Laikipia West to wipe out the criminals.

Panic gripped Lereshwa and its environs as air force officers hurled explosives in various parts of the forest.

It is believed that some of the bandits have fled to the area from the nearby Baringo County.

The 100,000-acre ranch borders Baringo and Laikipia counties.

According to the ranch owner, Ms Kukki Galmann, the air force personnel arrived at the ranch in three helicopters which hurled the explosives on the ground.

"It was around 3pm when we spotted the choppers surveilling the ranch.They were targeting the lower side of the forest which nears Lereshwa," she told The Standard on phone.

She said after about 30 minutes, they heard loud explosives and spotted fire and smoke billowing from the forest.

"We saw smoke billowing from the gulleys and then fire started spreading to other parts. The helicopters went around for another one hour before leaving," she recalled.

FIRE SPREADING

The rancher said the fire spread even to the grasslands and by the time of going to Press, her workers were still trying to put it off. She welcomed the move to have the rustlers evicted from her land.

"If it is true they are here then let the security personnel do their work. We will not harbour criminals," said Ms Galmann.

John Kiama, a resident, said they had heard about 10 blasts. "People panicked and some of them even started fleeing. The blasts were continuous," he noted.

The forces also dropped explosives at Ngelecha in Tiaty in an effort to flush out suspected bandits hiding in the rocky terrain.

"We have heard a series of explosions but we do not know if there are any casualties. The full extent will be known today when Kenya Red Cross visits the area. As it is now, it is not accessible," said Carlos Kapkoikat, another resident.

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