MCAs accuse state of failing to end bandit attacks in Isiolo

Isiolo MCAs

MCAs Kamila Warsame (Nominated), Peter Losu (Ngaremara), Meja Abdullahi Golicha (Chari) and Cherab's Halima Abgudo address journalists in Isiolo town on September 23, 2022.

Photo credit: James Murimi I Nation Media Group

Some Isiolo MCAs have lamented the government’s failure to contain incessant bandit attacks in Merti sub-county that have claimed dozens of lives and led to the loss of thousands of animals.

They claimed the criminals who raid, kill and steal are never arrested and the stolen livestock are not recovered, ruining the livelihoods of pastoralists.

Led by Chari MCA Meja Abdullahi Golicha and his Ngaremara counterpart Peter Losu, they said most of the attacks, unleashed by bandits suspected to be from Samburu County, occurred on the Isiolo side and were aimed at extending territory.

“The attacks are for expansionist reasons because they mostly happen at grazing fields and watering points,” Mr Golicha said, adding that more than 20,000 animals had been stolen in the past three months.

More than 100 camels and thousands of goats stolen a few weeks ago in Ngaremara, had not been recovered, Mr Losu said.

“The government should compensate the affected residents if it can’t recover the stolen animals. The attacks have left many children orphaned and women widowed,” he said.

They asked the government to deploy more National Police Reservists to insecurity-prone areas.

Addressing journalists in Isiolo town, the leaders claimed their Samburu neighbours were being favoured by security organs, saying security operations are always conducted on the Isiolo side whose residents are the victims.

Cooperate with security agencies

“The state should stop favouring our neighbours and ensure justice to all. We are ready to cooperate with security agencies in recovering stolen animals that could have been driven towards Isiolo, but we also want recoveries for our people expedited,” Mr Losu maintained.

County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding recently accused the Samburu security team of failing to cooperate with his team to recover livestock reportedly driven to the county by armed criminals.

Claiming that more than 30,000 stolen animals were yet to be returned, he said his team was helping arrest criminals and recover animals driven to Isiolo but police in Samburu did not reciprocate when bandits suspected to be from that county attacked.

County Assembly Majority Leader and Sericho MCA Abubakar Godana said the county was facing aggression from all corners and appealed to the government to secure its borders to prevent loss of lives and properties.

“The killings must stop. County and national government leaders must work together to ensure lasting peace is achieved to enable our people to go on with their lives uninterrupted,” nominated MCA Kamila Warsame said.

The leaders were with Cherab MCA Halima Abgudo.

Merti Sub-County Peace Committee chair Mohammed Abduba said bandits were invading the area without following resource-sharing protocols.

“Instead of asking us to share with them the remaining pastures and water, they invade, raid and attack our people, causing inexplicable suffering to us and our livelihoods,” he lamented.

Mr Abduba, who claimed he had lost over 500 goats in a recent attack in Degogicha, said the spate of insecurity had paralysed transport along the Isiolo-Merti road, bringing major activities to a halt.

“We appeal to the government to intervene and contain the situation because our people are suffering,” he appealed.

Learning has also been disrupted at five schools in Merti and left several trading centres deserted after some residents fled their homes for fear of being attacked.

Mr Omoding dismissed claims that security agents were lax, saying the government was committed to averting attacks by deploying more NPRs and recovering stolen animals.