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Military steps in to bring peace in volatile Laikipia and Baringo

RIFT VALLEY
By Kennedy Gachuhi and James Munyeki | October 6th 2021

 

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) engineers constructing a road in Ngosusu area in Laikipia on October 3, 2021. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard].

The government has embarked on a multi-agency approach in finding a lasting solution in the volatile Laikipia and Baringo counties, which have been embroiled in bloody clashes. 

The team comprises the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), National Police Service,  and the national and county governments. 

Officers from different police units have been tasked with conducting patrols in the region while the KDF have embarked on development projects. 

Security teams from the different services are carrying out an operation to flush out bandits from the Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Other teams are securing areas where residents fled to, conducting community engagements and escorting learners to and from schools.

Top military chiefs this week toured the region and met elders from the different communities to initiate projects aimed at mitigating causes of conflicts. 

The military activities are led by General Officer Commanding Border Security Command Major General Stephen Otieno and Second Brigade Commander Brigadier Peter Assava. 

Speaking at Mukogodo East in Laikipia North, Maj-Gen Otieno said the government was committed to finding long-term solutions. 

“We are building a dam that will supply Mukogodo with clean water. Water will be pumped to a raised tank to serve the residents and their livestock,” said Otieno. 

The army personnel will also rehabilitate several dams, which used to provide water for both domestic and wild animals but have become silted over the years. 

“We have also engaged residents of Ngosusu and Kilimon areas to identify an appropriate area for another dam. These projects are part of government efforts to restore normalcy in Laikipia and avoid recurrence of the clashes,” said Otieno. 

Water Resource Users Association Chairman Simon Ngila lauded the the initiatives, saying they would go a long way in reducing conflict among the residents. 

“Locals and their animals get their water supply from these dams. Contamination and siltation has left many suffering, leading to conflicts,” said Ngila. 

KDF is also constructing a tuition block at the Mirigwit Primary School in Ol Moran, where one of the classes was set ablaze by suspected bandits last month. 

The headteacher John Ngunjiri said before the schools closed, most pupils had trooped back courtesy of the military presence. 

“We are grateful to the military for the new classes they are putting up and giving security to our teachers and learners,” said Ngunjiri. 

The county government is also undertaking the construction of three police stations at Ol Moran, Survey and Luoniek. 

“This is a great beginning for the region towards having sustainable peace and development,” said Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi. 

The military is also undertaking similar projects in Baringo County and opening up new roads for residents and security personnel. 

Otieno said they will also construct dams in Kangayiama and Koloruk to reduce water shortage, which residents say is the main cause of migration and conflict. 

 

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