Highway banditry a thorn in flesh of Marsabit residents

Marsabit car accident

A vehicle whose driver lost control when bandits sprayed it with bullets along the Kargi -Loiyngalani road on October 15, 2022.

Photo credit: Courtesy

For decades now, highway banditry and cattle rustling have been a thorn in the flesh of the government and Marsabit residents.

Many residents have lost their livestock and property and others killed by the merciless bandits.

Local leaders, including Marsabit County Governor Mohamud Ali and Woman Rep Naomi Wako, have appealed to the government to act before cattle rustling and highway banditry became catastrophic in the region.

Ms Wako went further to detail that plans were in the offing in the National assembly to enact legislation targeting cattle rustling and banditry across Kenya.

If passed, she said, the bills would see banditry equated to terrorism and draw severe punishment for perpetrators.

The clarion calls hit a fever pitch when Roads, Transport and Public Works CS Kipchumba Murkomen visited Loglogo town in Laisamis constituency.

Responding to the leaders’ concerns about banditry, Mr Murkomen added his voice by warning pastoralist communities against embracing backward cultural practices that end up harming the entire society.

Moranism and FGM, he said, are outdated cultural practices that should be abandoned.

Cattle rustling has been linked to some of the atrocious attacks that visited Marsabit between 2018 and 2022.

Last week, County Commissioner Paul Rotich appealed to the Rendille, Turkana, and Samburu communities in Marsabit to help the government eradicate moranism, which is blamed for banditry.

“I want to implore all students, teachers and parents in this sub-county to shun moranism at all costs. It is such a shame and retrogressive in this age to continue entertaining a backward culture that taints the entire community’s image like that,” Mr Rotich said.

He urged young men who dropped out of school to become morans to be nudged to return to school, saying they were wasting their minds.

Guns seized

He spoke at Laisamis Primary School at the launch of a school feeding programme sponsored by Lake Turkana Wind Power Company.

His calls came only a week after some residents demanded the return of guns seized from national police reservists to help contain cattle rustling.

A security operation had returned peace and security to the region, but just as residents were beginning to celebrate, it dawned on them that cattle rustling was still going on.

Violent attacks have been reported on the Moyale-Isiolo highway and the Laisamis-Loiyangalani road, with herders losing their livestock and travellers being robbed of property and money.