Leaders attending a two-day peace summit in Kitale have urged the government to disarm pastoralists and arrest leaders fanning clashes.
The North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) summit brings together delegates from Trans Nzoia, Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Baringo and Samburu counties.
The forum, which has attracted more than 500 delegates, is being held at the Kitale Members Club.
Governor George Natembeya and his West Pokot counterpart Simon Kachapin backed government efforts to restore peace in the region and called for forcible disarmament.
Natembeya and Kachapin noted that illegal ownership of guns has ruined lives and slowed development in the region.
Natembeya, who served as Rift Valley regional coordinator, observed that Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Samburu and Turkana counties have suffered greatly from insecurity due to ownership of illegal guns.
He said the ongoing mop-up exercise of unlicensed firearms is a promising solution to the problem affecting the five counties.
“Government's efforts to silence the gun is an economic issue affecting the region, and we are meeting to discuss the way forward on how to complement these efforts to bring a long-lasting solution,” said Natembeya.
Kachapin commended herders who had surrendered illegal guns to the government, but said those resisting should face the wrath of the law.
“We are encouraged that the ongoing operation to weed out illegal guns in the region is slowly silencing the sound of guns. We ask the government to use force to retrieve guns from individuals resisting the operation,” said Kachapin.
The existence of illegal guns in the region had not only led to the loss of lives and property but also compromised development.
“We want these guns to be silenced once and for all and give us time to engage in development. We support the elimination of unlicensed guns,” said Kachapin.
He said financiers of rustling activities should be brought to book, adding that they contributed to the endless cattle raids.
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“Political leaders inciting communities to fight and financiers of rustling should be prosecuted,” said Kachapin.
The summit, which draws delegates from political leadership, the church, and opinion leaders, is discussing the ways to complement government efforts to end insecurity in the North Rift region.
Apart from peace, the forum is expected to deliberate ways to revolutionise agriculture.