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Despite State ultimatums, criminals still wreaking havoc in Baringo

By Kiprotich Chepkoit | February 28th 2017
A woman cooking beans for her children at Kakomon primary school in Baringo North sub-county on February 26, 2017.Most residents displaced by the ongoing insecurity in Baringo County are camping in the area. Baringo Senator Gideon Moi visited them and donated some food stuffs .PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH

Compared to criminals in other parts of the country, the bandits who are wrecking lives in Baringo County, are being treated with kid gloves.

This begs the question, is someone protecting them?

On Friday, as Deputy President William Ruto addressed hundreds of displaced people who have sought refuge at Bartabwa Assistant County Commissioner's compound, the bandits shot in the air nearby, forcing people to scamper for safety.

This prompted Ruto to say: "If we cannot finish this thing once and for all, I do not know."

It was a loaded remark given the fact that since Jubilee came to power in 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto have issued numerous ultimatums to marauding cattle rustlers who have killed, maimed and terrorised residents of Baringo, Elgeiyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu and Turkana.

But the ultimatums and shoot-to-kill orders have done little or nothing at all to stop the criminal activities, which have permanently displaced some people from their homes.

Prior to their election in 2013, the two leaders pledged to end the cattle rustling menace once and for all.

"We want to issue an ultimatum to cattle rustlers in the country that after the March 4 elections, they will have nowhere to hide. They should either move out of the country or end their way of living," Uhuru said on January 11, 2013.

In November 2014, 21 police officers were killed in an ambush between Kapedo and Lokori in Turkana County.

On November 2, 2014 when the President toured Tiaty Constituency under heavy security, he issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the pastoralists living in the area to name those behind the killings or face a massive security operation.

That was followed by the deployment of a heavily armed contingent of Kenya Defence Forces troops.

According to locals, the operation never yielded much apart from the heavy presence of security personnel that stayed in the region for a while.

Earlier in April 2014, the Deputy President had issued a similar ultimatum to cattle rustlers in parts of North Rift region.

This followed sporadic attacks on the border between the Turkana and the Pokot communities following incidents of cattle rustling.

On March 29, 2015, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett was at it again. This time around he was angered by attacks in Suguta Valley where people were killed and animals stolen.

Boinett gave rustlers hiding in Suguta Valley, Baragoi and hills of Baringo 48 hours to surrender stolen animals and illegal weapons.

But despite the ultimatums and pledges to deal with the cattle thieves ruthlessly and as the country goes to yet another General Election, the bandits continue to have a field day, killing and stealing livestock with abandon.

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