Police in Isiolo have arrested 10 suspects in connection with last month’s killing of two chiefs in Marsabit as efforts to end runaway insecurity in the North intensify.
Also arrested are nine members of a militia group who were found with seven rifles and rounds of ammunition in Merti, Isiolo.
The guns, six AK-47 rifles and one FN firearm, 16 magazines and a pair of police jungle uniforms, were seized after a fierce gunfight between police officers carrying out an operation in disturbed Kom area and the militia group.
Those suspected to have been involved in the Marsabit killings were arrested Tuesday near Urura borehole with four motorbikes that police suspect they rode on from Marsabit to Isiolo to escape their dragnet.
Logologo Senior chief Kennedy Kongoman and his assistant were shot dead with three others by bandits on April 26 while on a mission to recover dozens of stolen livestock at Awaye area.
Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said investigations had been launched to establish if the seized firearms were the ones used in the murder of the Marsabit administrators.
Police also suspect the 10 could be responsible for the recent livestock theft incidents in the neighbouring county.
“The 10 were arrested on suspicion of having committed the crime on Marsabit side and then fled to Isiolo to escape arrest. We are investigating to establish if they were involved in the killing of the chiefs and livestock theft cases,” Mr Omoding told the Nation.
The 19 suspects, the administrator said, will be handed to the Marsabit security team to aid in the ongoing investigations.
He said the sustained operation that kicked off early this month had driven out armed criminals from the area and that normalcy had resumed.
Mr Omoding said Kom-Losesia-Archers Post road that had been closed by armed bandits was now fully operational.
“We have established a permanent General Service Unit camp in the area to avert insecurity that has been witnessed in the past,” he noted.
Besides beefing up security in the Kom area, the GSU officers are also cracking down on drug and human traffickers who mostly use the Yamicha route to evade routine police checks along Isiolo-Moyale highway.
The GSU and Quick Response Unit officers are working jointly to beef up security in the area following closure of the Kom Durte mine which National Police Service said was part of the government’s journey to restoring peace in the region.
Meanwhile, Isiolo Assembly Speaker Hussein Roba has appealed to the State not to extend the operation in Kom saying it will cause more suffering to the residents relying on the to provide for their families.
“We feel the operation is biased and aimed at intimidating one of the communities and call for a stop to the reported harassment of Wananchi,” Mr Roba said while calling for reopening of the mining site.
Accompanied by Chari MCA Ali Dima and Isiolo Majority Leader Isack Fayo, the Speaker dismissed Interior CS Fred Matiang’I’s claims that proceeds from the mine were being used to fuel insecurity in Marsabit. The county assembly leader said all those working at the site were Kenyans from across the country.