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Interior CS Matiang'i in bid to end insecurity in Kerio Valley

By Julius Chepkwony | July 14th 2021
From left, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and Rift Valley Regional co-ordinator George Natembeya during a security meeting at Tot in Elgeyo Marakwet County on July 13, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday outlined fresh measures aimed at addressing perennial insecurity in Kerio Valley. 

Matiang’i met with leaders from West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties after recent attacks that left at least nine people dead.

He was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya led security teams from the three counties.

While addressing the media after a four-hour closed-door meeting, Matiang'i said area leaders have called on the government to address the issue once and for all.

He said the leaders resolved not to hold any other security meetings in the region as the government moves to address the root causes of insecurity there.

He noted that the government will move to ensure adequate security personnel are deployed to all locations and sub-locations in the next few days.

“The IG has agreed to immediately move in with a view to have sufficient numbers deployed to the right places. We're going to have a special formation that will be placed in Dira," Matiang'i said.

Area leaders have raised concerns over security officers in the area, adding that some were from the region and often found themselves conflicted in decision-making, which affects how fast they respond.

Going forward, Matiang’i said that the government will profile officers before deployment to insecurity prone areas to ensure they act without prejudice.

Further, a deputy county commissioner will be appointed to specifically coordinate security operations along the Kerio Valley belt, which cuts through three counties.

Smoke out criminals

“We have agreed to place here a deputy county commissioner who will be coordinating with the three county commissioners and security teams to ensure there is real time information sharing,” he said.

The also CS advised the leaders to work with the locals to smoke out criminals who he said are well-known to them.

“We will act without fear or favour where we are called to. Peace is number one priority, and we will not fail,” he pledged.

He said that all vacant positions of chiefs and their assistants will be advertised on Monday to ensure regular security meetings are held in the area.

Present in the meeting were governors Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, MPs William Kamket (Tiaty), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) Woman Reps Gladwel Cheruiyot, Jane Chebaibai and Livestock and Fisheries CAS Lina Jebii.

Governor Lonyangapuo said that it was time leaders in the region to work together to restore peace, and pledged to coordinate with security officials to end the conflict.

“Every effort to bring peace in the region is welcome. Our focus is peace for our people,” he said.

His Baringo counterpart called on the national government to assist in opening up the insecurity prone areas.

Senator Murkomen said they have made big strides in fighting insecurity in the region and urged the police not relent on enforcing the law.

He called for more cooperation between the locals and the government and the reopening of all schoolswhich have been affected by banditry in the region.

Murkomen added that with proper coordination and filling of administrative positions, the region will move a step closer to a longer lasting solution to run away insecurity.

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