Mt Elgon chiefs fear as hunter becomes hunted

Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet (centre) arrives at Kipsigon in Mount Elgon on March 6, 2018 for a security meeting. Chiefs in Mt Elgon have reported being harassed by gangs. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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  • Others have even been forced to sell their livestock and give the money to the gangs as ransom to avoid being murdered.

Chiefs in Mount Elgon are living in fear after being targeted by criminals out to cover their tracks in the troubled region.

The administrators expressed fear for their lives after some of them were threatened for allegedly reporting the gangs to the authorities.

They face numerous challenges while enforcing the three-month curfew imposed on the troubled region by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last month.

Some of them have even fled their homes.


A chief narrated how he escaped death narrowly early this year after he was trailed by a gang, prompting him to flee his home.

“They killed my friend. Our work here is very dangerous. We never know what will happen to us next,” a chief who preferred anonymity said.

The gang only stopped looking for him after the government provided him with 10 police officers for security.

Others have even been forced to sell their livestock and give the money to the gangs as ransom to avoid being murdered.

“They warned me to stop interfering with their activities or I get killed. I had to sell my two cows and give them the money,” another chief said.

Some of the administrators complained that their efforts to fight the gangs have been frustrated by rogue government officers who leak intelligence briefings.

It is this state that was blamed for the panic that hit the area on Saturday when an assistant chief and a Nyumba Kumi initiative member went missing for two days, sparking fears that they might have been abducted by a gang.

They, however, resurfaced on Monday morning and assured residents they were well and had not been abducted.

Meanwhile in Baringo, a chief and her assistant sustained serious injuries after they were beaten by suspected cattle rustlers in Makany Sub-Location, Tiaty Sub-County.

The two had accompanied village elders on a mission to persuade the bandits to return cattle stolen from Rumuruti in the neighbouring Laikipia County.

Orus Location Chief Josephine Lopuo and her assistant Daniel Ng’eleyo were rescued by locals and taken to hospital after they were beaten by the bandits who later escaped.

Some 45 head of cattle were stolen last week.