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North Rift residents, leaders say NPR only solution to insecurity

 

National Police reservists after being commissioned by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Malim Mohamed during a security meeting in Mochongoi, Baringo South on March 8, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

National Police Reservists were deemed to be part of criminals who terrorised locals in the insecurity-prone areas of the North Rift and in 2019 they were disarmed.

The government, while issuing the directive to have the reservists disarmed, said they were using their guns to commit crimes.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i then said the government was keen on ending the perennial problem of cattle rustling in the North Rift.

The CS said in a civilised society, guns should be in the hands of trained police officers and not civilians trying to protect themselves. He said it is the responsibility of the State to provide security.

Following the withdrawal of NPR, residents of Baringo and Kerio Valley complained to the leaders and petitioned the government to reinstate them.

Bandits continued to raid, killing people and stealing livestock. In January 2022, bandits raided Lomoiywet in Mochongoi Baringo South and killed one person. At least 200 families were displaced.

Local leaders then held a meeting on January 15, 2022. Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Governor Stanley Kiptis, Woman Representative Gladwell Cheruiyot, Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren and MCAs were present.

Senator Gideon promised the residents that he will engage the government and ensure that police reservist are recruited.

He said he was there to find a lasting solution to the insecurity.

In February 4, Interior CS met leaders from Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot in Nakuru. The leaders decried rising insecurity in the area and called on the government to work towards ending the problem.

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and the Principal Secretary Ministry of Interior Karanja Kibicho also attended the meeting.

The CS then ordered the regional police commander to draw an operation order which the Inspector General of Police was to approve so they could flush out bandits. He said the methods used in Laikipia including aerial surveillance would be applied. 

Two weeks later, a driver, 13 students and two teachers of Tot High School were injured after bandits attacked their bus. Last week bandits raided Kasiela and Sinoni areas of Baringo South. At least six people were killed.

Pressure piled on the government to have NPRs reinstated. Locals’ leaders claimed NPR, unlike the police understood the terrain well and would deal with the bandits.

On Tuesday, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohamed Maalim commissioned 80 police reservists. The 80 will be deployed to Baringo North and South after training by GSU officers.

Nominated MCA Francis Kibai yesterday lauded the government for the decision and said police reservists understand the terrain and will  deal with the bandits. “NPR are basically locals who understand the area and the movement of the bandits. We appreciate the government,” he said.