Two killed, five injured in Isiolo cattle rustlers raid
What you need to know:
Two suspected cattle rustlers have been shot dead while attempting to raid Mlango area in Burat Ward of Isiolo County.
The two were part of a group of armed criminals said to have come from neighbouring Samburu County who ambushed local herders and started firing indiscriminately at them, prompting a shootout.
County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding told Nation that a National Police Reservist who responded to the Friday morning attack was injured during the incident. He said three others are nursing gunshot wounds at Isiolo Referral Hospital.
“The two who were killed were part of the armed criminals who raided the area ostensibly to take control of a local grazing field that serves local Somali, Turkana and Borana communities,” Mr Omoding said.
He said that police officers had been deployed to ensure calm is restored in the area.
Local leaders led by Senator Fatuma Dullo condemned the attack and asked the government to end the killings which they blamed on illegal herders from neighbouring Laikipia, Marsabit and Samburu counties.
The senator who visited those injured in the hospital asked Interior CS Kithure Kindiki to expedite the establishment of a General Service Unit (GSU) camp in the insecurity-prone area.
“We want GSU officers deployed to the area as soon as tomorrow and the security installations established within the shortest time possible,” she said.
“We cannot be welcoming people to our county only for them to turn against our people and attack and steal from them. This is unacceptable and must stop,” she added.
Ms Dullo also asked the government to fast-track the vetting of over 100 National Police Reservists who will be spread across the three sub-counties saying they will boost police efforts in containing runaway insecurity in the region.
A resident, Ms Kheira Adan Mohammed, said all the attacks were happening on Isiolo side and lamented that no action was being taken against residents of the neighbouring county despite unleashing terror and killing people in Isiolo.
“We have persevered for too long and the government must act. Why are criminals from Samburu County never pursued or ruthlessly dealt with despite killing our people?” she posed.
Isiolo Sub-County Grazing Committee Chairperson Samuel Lokoro said 25 women and nine men were killed last year. Four of the women were raped by bandits suspected to have come from the neighbouring county.
“These people unleash terror on our people, the government must contain the situation,” Mr Lokoro said.
Youth leader Osman Shariff asked local leaders to join hands in preaching peace among communities living within the hotspot areas.
“The criminals are known, it is all about honesty and activating community policing while also ensuring that the security agencies are fully committed to tackling insecurity,” he said.
He said despite receiving intelligence reports in time, security agencies were not acting expeditiously on the information.
Burat MCA Nicholas Lorot and his Chari counterpart Meja Golicha maintained that herders should graze in their counties to prevent conflicts which have been aggravated by the prolonged drought.
Mr Lorot said the criminals were not after taking over the grazing fields but were out to steal livestock. He also accused the criminals of trying to expand boundaries to benefit from upcoming mega-government projects such as the Lapsset.
“Last year alone, more than 25 people were killed in Burat. More than 100 camels were recently stolen but none has been recovered,” he said.
The leaders asked Prof Kindiki and Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to transfer the officer in charge of the Aremiet GSU camp.
“He should be immediately removed from Isiolo because he is not of any help to Isiolo residents,” Senator Dullo said.
The leaders claimed the GSU boss was slow in responding to attacks affecting Isiolo communities but was fast to handle those facing Samburu neighbours.
Pastor Peter Mbaiyani asked the authorities to prevent continued invasion by herders from neighbouring counties. He said the invasion has led to the proliferation of illegal firearms for the senseless killings.
“The security team must also investigate those on Isiolo side who are colluding with bandits from Samburu County,” he appealed.