Police launch manhunt for bandits in raid at village in Isiolo

Geoffrey Omoding

Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Police in Isiolo are pursuing armed criminals who Saturday night raided the troubled Mlango area in Burat and stole 650 camels.

This comes even as tension continues to build up over the killing of 10 people in a span of two weeks.

The criminals who are suspected to have come from neighbouring Samburu County, raided two Manyattas in the area around 7pm and stole hundreds of animals. Some 500 camels have already been recovered.

A fierce gunfight ensued between the criminals and National Police Reservists for nearly two hours with the officers managing to recover some of the camels. No one was injured during the incident.

County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding told Nation that a manhunt for the dozens of criminals and recovery efforts for the remaining 150 animals was ongoing.

“The police reservists (assisted by an armoured vehicle) managed to recover some of the camels that have already been handed over to the owners,” he said.

The attack comes a week after three people including a police reservist were shot dead in the area by bandits said to have crossed over from Samburu County and who stole the officer’s firearm and walked away with 350 goats.

The goats were later recovered while being driven towards Kipsing in Oldonyiro ward within Isiolo/Samburu border but no arrests were made according to authorities.

The attacks are believed to have been aggravated by the ongoing joint operation by the military and police in Samburu and five other North Rift counties that has seen criminals run towards Isiolo side.

Expansionist agenda

Competition over resources, expansionist agenda and political intrigues are among the contributors of conflicts between local pastoralists and neighbouring counties.

“The criminals are not just after stealing livestock, they want to displace our people so that they benefit from upcoming mega government projects such as Lapsset and Resort City,” local leader Osman Shariff said.

Mr Omoding earlier revealed that some local politicians were being investigated over alleged links to the attacks and maintained that no leader will be spared if found guilty of the crime.

Chiefs working within the troubled areas have also been put on notice and could soon lose their jobs for not doing enough to avert insecurity and for failure to share alerts on planned attacks in time.

The senior administrator, without divulging details, said the State had put in place requisite measures to tackle banditry and cattle rustling and assured that the area will soon be free of bandits.

Local residents have asked the government to expedite establishment of a General Service Unit camp in the area that Interior CS Kithure Kindiki promised in December and deployment of police reservists to hotspot areas.

Demanding that illegal herders from neighbouring counties be flushed out, Ms Amina Noor asked President William Ruto to set up a buffer zone along Isiolo/Samburu border to prevent movement of criminals into the county.

“Many children are orphaned and women widowed after losing their loved ones to the senseless attacks. This lawlessness must be stopped, else, we might all be killed,” she said.

The dusk to dawn curfew in Samburu, residents said, should be extended to Isiolo to help flush out criminals from the affected areas.

“Community leaders should be held responsible for the attacks and be forced to share names of the culprits who are well known in their communities,” Mr Shariff advised.