The government is on the spot over repeated killings in the Kerio Valley region, with unsuccessful efforts by the government to tame runaway insecurity pushing professionals from the Pokot community to protest and seek legal redress.
Fresh attacks have left more than 10 people dead, hundreds of livestock stolen and many families displaced since the year began.
Last week alone, three people were killed by suspected bandits from Elgeyo-Marakwet County. One person was killed near Cheptulel Boys High School, while two others were killed and one seriously injured in a daytime attack at Akiriamet village, Chesegon area. More than 30 goats were stolen.
The insecurity has derailed development, with schools shut down. Schools in the area that have been affected by insecurity include Chesegon, Cheptulel, Arpollo, Sabulmoi, Cheratat, Tilakai and Chemalei primary schools, and Cheptulel Boys, Sarimach and Cheptulel Girls.
The professionals accused the government of bias in deploying security officers and arming the National Police Reservists (NPR), claiming Elgeyo-Marakwet has received more as compared to West Pokot.
They also faulted security organs for laxity and complicity amid the escalating killings.
“The Chesegon peace accord has not been honoured. They should implement (former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred) Matiang’i orders of Tot 2021 in Kerio Valley. We need justice in West Pokot for people who have been killed by bandits. We want our stolen cattle returned,” said former Lomut ward rep Helen Madio.
“We have entered into a new year with tragedies. We as mothers are devastated and feel pain for losing our children every month. We need a police post at Chesegon, Sewer, Sabulmoi and Seketow. If this is hard, we had better move away and become refugees. Prof (Kithure) Kindiki you promised beef security. In Marakwet there is a police post in Liter and armoured vehicles but not in West Pokot,” she added.
Sigor peace coordinator Kelvin Moutich accused the government of failing to engage warring communities in resolving conflicts.
“We are saddened by the rampant killings in the area. Children are not in school. Residents are sleeping in caves,” he said.
Dennis Kapchok said community lawyers are ready to face the government in court.
“The court has pronounced itself on the matter of boundary in Kapedo and Mukutani and the verdict was that the areas are in Tiaty,” he said.
Mr Kapchok also accused the government of not involving local leaders in the ongoing disarmament exercise, claiming it has fuelled animosity. He observed that forceful disarmament will only cool down regional tensions, and a long-term solution must be found and implemented through a clear drawing of boundaries.