Divide-and-conquer tactics can beat bandits

Yatya, Baringo

Rapid Deployment Unit police, who responded to an attack by bandits at Yatya in Baringo North on March 17, 2023. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Banditry in North Rift has become a menace that must be stopped. Many Kenyans have lost their lives and property in the perennial violence. The bandits have not given up their weapons even after Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops were deployed to hunt them down.

It is time we considered other tactics to beat banditry. One is ‘divide and conquer’, whereby the government offers rewards and immunity to bandits who surrender and give useful information to take down the bandits’ operation. 

If we cannot take down the group from the outside, we should think of doing it from the inside. By spreading the rewards and immunity gospel, several bandits may be tempted to give in. We can then know who funds banditry and prosecute them.

Divide and conquer tactics were used by the colonialists to colonise Kenya in the 1900s. Africans turned in one another to lay their hands on the colonialists’ goodies. We can use the same strategy used to take us down to rise from the ashes of the banditry moving our nation backwards. 

Countries such as the US offer immunity to those willing to give up criminal operations, and it works. Bandits are small fry. To take down the ‘big fish’, we must infiltrate the ranks of the bandit group and take down the leader.

It may be impossible to crush the entire operation without knowing its funder; mere bandits do not have the ability to equip themselves with military weapons. It is possible to take down the leader if we have an insider. By offering immunity, rewards and protection to the family of the bandit who is willing to surrender and give useful information we will be able to have an inside person.

We need to take down banditry for the sake of the peace of the Kenyans in North Rift; they, too, need to conduct their day-to-day activities and have peaceful sleep. Children need to go back to school like the rest. Recently, an expectant teacher was gang-raped in Turkana South.

Banditry is dividing our country; we should divide them too and scatter the name ‘bandit’ into the wind. It is time for new tactics to end the menace.

Clinton Njoroge, Uasin Gishu

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A security operation in the Rift Valley notwithstanding, there still are reports of people being killed by bandits and schooling disrupted. This calls for the security agencies to ensure total disarmament in the region to safeguard the lives of the residents.

Let the security operation be intensified for loss of lives, destruction of property and livestock raids continue unabated. Many students, especially those displaced to other regions, have had their learning cut short.

Bandits must have a hub where they obtain their support in the form of firearms and finances; therefore, the government must find out who their sponsors are.

To succeed, the officer in charge of security in the region needs more government support.

Erick Malala, Kisii