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Security operation in disturbed Baringo, Turkana counties resumes

RIFT VALLEY
By Kennedy Gachuhi | April 7th 2021
An Armoured police vehicle patrols at Mukutani area in Baringo south. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

 

Multiple attacks in Baringo, Laikipia and Turkana counties have forced security agencies to resume an operation to flush out bandits from the troubled region.

The operation in which Kapedo was its epicenter had been launched on January 18 to quell tension between warring communities at the Baringo-Turkana border following the killing of senior security personnel.

General Service Unit Commander Tebakol Emadau, 53, was gunned down by bandits in Kapedo at the border of Baringo and Turkana counties.

Four days later, a Chief Inspector of Police, Moses Lekairab, and his driver, Police Constable Benson Kaburu, were shot dead at Amayan Bridge.

Police officer takes cover along at river Tikaluk along Mukutani - Kiserian road after Suspected Pokot Bandits staged an attack to displaced residents of Mukutani Village in Baringo South while they were being evicted from the village to Eldume Primary school in Marigat. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

 

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said yesterday that security agencies would resume the operation today, extending from Baringo to Turkana East and parts of Laikipia West.

“Our officers are heading back to Baringo and this time the operation will hit hard. We had scaled down our operation last month and attacks have since resumed,” said Natembeya.

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Addressing the Press at the regional headquarters, Natembeya said interventions by political leaders from Baringo, West Pokot and Turkana counties had failed to bear fruit.

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Governors John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) and Stanley Kiptis (Baringo) had last month held a meeting with the Ministry of Interior officials at a Baringo hotel.

The leaders also requested that the ministry lifts curfew imposed in the area as locals raised concerns that humanitarian aid was no longer reaching them.

Police officer takes cover along at river Tikaluk along Mukutani - Kiserian road. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i allowed their prayer on March 23, giving them up to April 23 to engage the locals and come up with a way forward for sustained peace in the area. 

“They requested that we put the operation on hold for 30 days to allow them to conduct a peace campaign and voluntary disarmament. This has recorded minimal results and at least four attacks have been reported in the past two days,” said Natembeya. 

The commissioner has, however, said efforts by the leaders have been curtailed by a section of local leaders even as more attacks are reported.

“The leaders were determined to give different solutions to banditry attacks. They have so far held four meetings. Since then, only three guns have been surrendered. With this trend, it will take eternity to save the situation,” said Natembeya. 

He pointed out that political supremacy among leaders not committed to peace restoration in the area had greatly contributed to the limited success of the meetings. 

“Those opposed to the process have incited the residents against cooperating. They started demanding Sh100,000 for each surrendered gun, which we won’t give in to,” he said.

Natembeya said in the past two days, there have been multiple attacks in Mukutani, Arabal, Lokori and Mochongoi, where over 200 animals have been stolen.  

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