A multi-agency team of highly specialised security officers led by the General Service Unit (GSU) was last evening deployed to Marsabit County to quell the ethnic violence that has persisted there since Monday.
The Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the officers have “firm and uncompromising instructions to restore peace and order”.
There was tension in Marsabit town earlier as armed groups continued exchanging fire forcing businesses to close.
“While we urge all peace loving Marsabit residents to collaborate and work alongside us, stern warning goes to perpetrators of criminal activities perpetuating chaos in the county to either hand themselves in at the nearest police station or be prepared to face the law,” Mr Mutyambai said in a statement.
A woman was killed on Thursday at Manyatta Daba area in Jirime location while in Kiwanja Ndege area, two groups clashed.
The incident left at least four people critically injured among them a child. The victim were taken to Marsabit Referral Hospital.
Violence erupted on Monday in Jirime location. The clashes have claimed five lives so far.
In a separate incident, two people were shot in Shegel which is approximately four kilometres from Marsabit town. Marsabit Central sub-county police boss Johnson Wachira confirmed the incident saying that unknown armed gangsters ambushed a lorry that was heading to town from Forolle.
The recent spate of killings have instilled fear among residents who called on the government to act quickly and restore peace in Marsabit.
Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Wario Qampicha warned that should the government continue to give a deaf ear to the endemic killings in Marsabit, many lives risked being lost.
“As things are at the moment, should the government continue to give the woes of Marsabit a deaf ear, then we fear seeing mass murders in this region,” Bishop Qampicha said.
Peace treaties signed over the years have failed to deliver long-lasting peace.
In the last month, there has been a spike in ethnic tensions, cattle rustling, loss of lives and livelihoods as well in Marsabit Central sub-county alone.
More than 18 people have been killed brutally by armed assailants, with no arrests.
The county continues to experience armed conflicts despite repeated operations by the government to seize illegal guns and flush out bandits.
The conflicts have always been assumed to be sporadic incidents over pasture, typical of nomadic communities.
Marsabit County Commissioner Paul Rotich warned locals against glorifying violence and killings.
Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali, for his part, expressed concerns that over the last three years, resources have been used to end violent extremism in the county in vain.
Billions of shillings have been spent by different donors such as the United Nations Development Programme, Intergovernmental Authority on Development and African Union with little success.
“A lot of resources are going down the drain in efforts to restore harmony in this county in vain,” Governor Ali lamented.