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State to enlist 450 reservists to contain banditry

Rift Valley
 Interior CS Kithure KIndiki. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

The State will deploy 450 National Police Reservists in Kerio Valley to boost security following the killing of two people on Sunday.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, while on a tour of Ketut village where two school girls were killed, directed reinstatement of 300 NPRs withdrawn in 2019. He also ordered the recruitment of 150 more.

Armed bandits have been killing people and stealing livestock in broad daylight, overwhelming police officers who are said to have little knowledge of the terrain in Kerio Valley.

“We are reinstating the 300 NPRs. On top of that, we have started enlisting 150 more as we look forward to bringing long-term solutions to the security challenges in Kerio Valley and other banditry-prone areas,” Kindiki said.

The CS, who met residents at Chesongoch, while in the company of his Roads and Infrastructure counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich, said the government will use lethal force against any armed bandit.

“Bandits have wreaked havoc in this area for more than 50 years. But we will deal with them ruthlessly. These criminals, who have been making people cry, don’t belong here,” said Kindiki.

He added: “We are going to use all means to ensure the bandits are brought to book. A military operation is in the offing. We will use all our uniformed officers to make sure order is restored.”

The CS also assured chiefs and their assistants in banditry-prone areas that a plan to arm them with guns is at an advanced stage.

“The meeting (yesterday’s) will be the last one to discuss security matters in a public baraza. From now, our work is to implement decisions to restore calm in Kerio Valley and other banditry-prone areas,” Kindiki said.

Murkomen said bandits in the Kerio Valley belt, cutting across Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Baringo counties, are daring and would only be contained through the use of force. 

Murkomen said his ministry will open up roads in Kerio to provide access by security officers. Governor Rotich said termed the killing of the two sisters as unfortunate.

“I am happy that the CS has taken into account our recommendations. Only a military operation and complete disarmament will end banditry in this region,” the governor said.

Governor Rotich said that more than 100 people had been killed by bandits in his county within one year, just before the elections.

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