What you need to know:
- The minister said the attackers are well-known to residents so they should take responsibility and hand them over to the police so they can face the law.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has issued a seven-day ultimatum for warring communities in the Kerio Valley belt to surrender criminals behind attacks that have claimed 11 lives, saying forceful disarmament will follow.
The minister said the attackers are well-known to residents so they should take responsibility and hand them over to the police so they can face the law.
“These criminals are within the society. You know them … either you surrender them in the next seven days or we act tough,” said Dr Matiang’i.
In a wide range of strategies to contain the runaway insecurity in the region, the CS also disclosed plans to carry out delocalisation of the security team to address conflict of interests when cracking down on the criminals.
The CS, who held talks with security team and leaders from the region on Tuesday, said: “Some of the security agents deployed to pursue the bandits come from this region and in some cases, have interests. We are going to redeploy them to other areas to allow a neutral team to deal with the attackers,” he said.
The CS said a special security unit will be set up at Dira, which is shared by West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties, and is believed to be the escape route for bandits who steal livestock.
He further announced the appointment of a deputy county commissioner (DCC) to be stationed at Tot, Elgeyo Marakwet, to coordinate the crackdown on bandits in the three counties.
Dr Matiang’i also said a police post will be set up at Chesegon on the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot to boost peaceful coexistence among the locals.
“Peace is not only attained by use of ammunition but also through dialogue. It is paramount for warring communities to come together and address their problems,” he said.
The minister further cautioned leaders seeking elective positions against inciting their communities into acts of violence.
“We will not compromise the stability of our country with retrogressive politics. The law will act tough against individuals promoting violence,” he warned.
He added that vacant administrative positions in the region will be filled to facilitate coordination and the crackdown against bandit attacks.
Government on the spot
Governors from the region - Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo) and John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) - accused the government of poorly responding to the rising insecurity, despite handing over names of suspects behind the attacks to the security team.
“There is no political solution to criminal activities in Kerio Valley. The government has the machinery to deal with attackers and should play its role,” said Governor Tolgos.
Mr Tolgos noted the negative impact of the attacks on socio-economic activities of the three devolved units, hence the need for peace among the communities.
The Baringo county boss asked the government to arrest individuals behind the supply of guns in the region.
“It is unfortunate that the government has made no arrest despite carrying out mapping and locking down areas believed to be the hideouts of the criminals,” said Mr Kiptis.
Prof Lonyangapuo said the government’s failure to arrest suspects was the cause of the retaliatory attacks that have claimed 11 lives in the past three weeks.
“We have handed over the names of the suspects to the security team so we do not understand why it is taking too long for them to be apprehended,” he said.
Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said more security personnel will be deployed to the region to weed out the bandits and restore peace.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya asked those with illegal arms to surrender them ahead of disarmament.