Road construction will destroy bandit's hideouts, CS Kindiki says

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki speaks during a peace meeting held at Sondu trading center. [Nikko Tanui, Standard]

Bandit hideouts will be made more accessible in a plan by the State to end the perennial insecurity challenge in parts of the North Rift.

The government has begun the construction of security roads in bandit hotspots such as forests, escarpments and ravines, to open them up to the outside world.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said this is the surest way to ward off bandits, flushed out in the ongoing security operation in parts of the Rift Valley, from returning to their hideouts.

He noted that bandits have long exploited the inaccessibility of their hideouts to launch ambushes and retreat after wreaking havoc.

"The construction of roads in these areas will make it easier for our security officers to respond to attacks and distress calls from residents," Prof Kindiki said during a security baraza at the Kalya Market, located at the intersection between Elgeyo Maarakwet and West Pokot.

He had earlier inspected the construction of the Tangul-Kolomogon-Keren Road, christened Amani Road, which links the two counties.

The road is expected to ease the transportation of goods and services.

The Interior CS said the government would deploy more officers to the volatile regions to prevent a resurgence by the bandits.

"We have flushed them out from their hideouts... We want to ensure that there is lasting peace," Kindiki said noting the success of a joint operation between the National Police Service and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in the six bandit-prone counties that began in February.

The affected counties, classified as dangerous and disturbed, are Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu.

Besides roads, the government is also constructing schools and health facilities to enhance access to services for the locals as well as win their hearts in the fight against banditry.

School construction is mostly done by the KDF, a move that has seen enrollment improve in the counties.

Last week Defence CS Aden Duale said the construction of infrastructure was part of the "National Security Shared Values" the government would initiate in the six counties, which is currently awaiting Cabinet approval.

"We plan to allocate funds to construct roads and dams in these six counties and sink boreholes," Duale said during a visit to Kapedo.