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Security officials mull new strategies to tackle banditry

 High level security meeting attended by top county security chiefs at Chesongoch in Marakwet East, Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Concerned by the persistent wave of banditry causing turmoil in Elgeyo Marakwet, security authorities have assembled to strategise and formulate a comprehensive plan to tackle the issue head-on.

The team that comprised chiefs, National Police Service, National Police Reservist (NPRs), and Governor Wisley Rotich had a closed-door meeting at Chesongoch in Marakwet East, chaired by County Commissioner John Korir.

Korir said the multi-agency security team had a roadmap towards containing banditry including moving all security camps to the Kerio river belt where bandits cross over during attacks.

He said the move would create a barrier that would seal all entry and exit points as a way of monitoring any cases of attacks.

"We have realised that bandits cross through river Kerio along the borders and after executing attacks, they retreat hence our presence within the borders will reduce their chances of crossing," he said at the Monday meeting.

Other interventions include opening up more security roads to ease movement and patrols within the entire Kerio Valley by security officers.

Korir said bandits have been taking advantage of thickets to drive away livestock to their hideouts.

"We have noticed that when bandits attack, they drive huge herds of livestock, making it hard for our officers to follow them for recovery,” said Korir.

The governor said swift response from security apparatus during attacks will reduce chances of killings and livestock thefts.

"Bandits are people well known by the locals but because of mistrust between the security and locals, information flow has made it difficult for security apparatus to know and act to prevent raids,” he said.

Over the recent past, there has been a resurgence of insecurity along the borders of West Pokot, Baringo, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

In the latest attack, four people were injured and are admitted to the Kapsowar Mission Hospital. One woman was killed on the spot.

On Tuesday, Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome toured Baringo County and assured residents that the state has put in place a detailed security plan to secure the region, protect lives and property.

Speaking in Kabarnet town after meeting top security personnel, Koome said the government will not relent in the war against banditry.

He said as a multi-agency they are united to ensure peace prevails in the region.

The police boss noted that the bandits have gone beyond cattle rustling to the extent of sabotaging the economy of the region.

The IG said the criminals vandalised an electricity line supplying power to Ngaratuko areas of Baringo North on Monday.

“The direction they are taking will not be allowed. They are our fellow citizens but we will not spare them, we will use all the equipment given to us and deal with them,” he said

Koome added that Isiolo and Meru joins the county’s where the crackdown on insecurity and banditry is ongoing. Criminals, he noted have fled to those counties following the ongoing Maliza Uhalifi Operation in the North Rift.

Beside the Chemolingot Multi-Agency Operation Centre, he said he has established a multi-agency command centre for Isiolo, Meru, Laikipia and Samburu.

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