Tackle banditry menace with more seriousness

A police officer takes cover at Mukutani village in Baringo South. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Inter-community clashes in Marsabit County are taking their toll on human lives. Bandits attacked Saku village on Saturday and drove away 1,000 head of cattle and 300 sheep and goats. The second attack was on Kubi Oallo village where 800 head of cattle and 1,500 goats and sheep were stolen.

In the first attack, eight people were killed while four died in the second attack. According to Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso, swift action from police led to the recovery of the stolen animals. No arrests were made. The quest by the Borana, Gabra and Rendille communities to occupy arable Saku is said to be among reasons for the constant clashes.

There has been similar bandit attacks in Baringo, Turkana and Laikipia counties where cattle rustling incidences abound. Every time such incidents occur, the government and local communities attribute them to the culture of rustle-rustling. Surprisingly, security patrols and threats from the government have little, or no effect on the bandits.

The scourge of insecurity in these areas does not only affect civilians. Tens of police officers have lost their lives in shoot-outs with the bandits. Last month, two Kenya Defence Forces soldiers and two General Service Unit officers were killed bandits in Laikipia.

There have been claims that some local leaders are behind the insecurity within their jurisdictions. Arrests have been made following such claims, but no permanent solution has ever been found. Indeed, some elders and leaders in affected areas stand accused through commission or omission. It is their duty as leaders to come together and resolve any arising disputes among the communities for harmonious existence. When they fail to do so, they become part of the problem.

On its part, the government should go beyond putting leaders and bandits on notice and act decisively. The government has the machinery and wherewithal to get to the bottom of this problem and end it.