Eight people killed in one month in Laikipia as security operation launched

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Eight people, among them three police officers, have been killed in the month-long Laikipia West insecurity.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya says four civilians and two officers are nursing injuries.

"Eight people, among them security officers have been killed and that was before the security operation... we have put up enough security where residents live),” Natembeya said today.

During a press briefing, the Commissioner raised concerns over the supply of weapons to morans and suspected bandits and the creeping ‘Moranism culture’ in the area, claiming that they are being facilitated.

He also noted that the constant fighting is now planned, and no longer about cattle rustling but land ownership rows.

“The bandits in Laikipia don't have sophisticated weapons than our police officers. We will ensure we collect proper evidence to take them to court,” he said.

The National Government has declared Laikipia North and Laikipia West constituencies disturbed zones, even as a multi-agency operation is launched to bolster security in the area.

He said police will be more assertive and ensure the rule of law is restored in Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo counties and neighbouring areas.

Natembeya also warned political leaders to avoid going into the areas and inciting residents, saying now is not the right time.  

Watu wanaenedelea kufa na kuumia mahali pale kwa sababu ya viongozi wetu. Wakizidi, tutawataja kwa majina. (We are losing lives every day because of our leaders. If they don’t stop, we will name and shame them),” the police commissioner stated.

On Tuesday, a store at Merigwiti Primary School in Laikipia County was torched as an exchange of gunfire ensued between National Police Reservists and bandits. No one was injured in the fight.

He acknowledged that occupants of the Laikipia Nature Conservancy were taking advantage and stealing cattle.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Monday, September 6, declared a dusk to dawn (6pm-6am) curfew in the affected areas and directed anyone who has illegally moved their livestock into the conflict zone, including politicians, to remove them within the next 48 hours.

Tension continues in Miteta, Mirando, Wangwaci, and Ol Moran areas with residents fleeing the region to the nearby Sipili and Ol Moran trading centers.

The insecurity has led to the indefinite closure of schools.