Residents of Naipetome village in Turkana East are in shock after a bandit attack left seven people dead on Sunday.
In the night raid, 35 houses were set on fire by people who, incidentally, did not steal or take away anything.
Ordinarily, the attackers would have driven away several head of cattle, but they did not, which raises questions. Was the attack politically instigated, perhaps to influence the outcome of the coming general election in the region? From this attack, critical facilities such as hospitals and schools have been closed while frightened residents seek refuge in Kapedo police camp.
To have such barbaric incidents happen almost 60 years into self-rule is embarrassing. This level of insecurity is not what Kenyans bargained for when they took up arms against colonialists. Residents of bandit-hit areas of northern Kenya have never for a moment savoured the true meaning of tranquility, or felt like they were part of Kenya.
A week hardly goes by in these volatile areas without civilians and security officers coming under attack, and sometimes losing their lives. When the hunter becomes the hunted, there is need for re-strategising, which the government must now seriously consider.
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The incoming government must take the issue of insecurity seriously. It doesn’t matter how colourful a manifesto is, without security and attendant tranquility, nothing tangible can be delivered. The government should pull out all stops to ensure every Kenyan feels secure and at ease in their own country.
A few years back, the government rolled out disarmament measures in bandit-prone areas, but it seems like they did not bear fruit. The number of illegal firearms that continue to kill innocent citizens is too high.
We cannot rule out the possibility that the insecurity is being fueled by local leaders who stand to gain by it. The government should carry out investigations with a view to this perennial problem to an end. Anybody found culpable should be dealt with firmly to dissuade others of the same persuasion.