Kindiki launches security operation along Meru-Isiolo border to tame cattle rustling

Kithure Kindiki

Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki has declared a security operation along the Meru-Isiolo border to tame rising cattle rustling in the region.

The CS said 15 counties were hard hit by banditry but added that the government had succeeded in taming the criminals in Rift Valley. In Meru, he said, five sub counties were affected by perennial cattle rustling. 

"Just like we have been able to deal with bandits in Rift Valley, we will deploy special units in Meru and Isiolo to end this menace. We know that cattle rustling cannot be stopped by general duty officers. The nonsense must stop," Prof Kindiki said.

He said banditry comes second to terrorism in security threats facing the country and his ministry was keen on ending cattle rustling.

"We managed to tame terrorism by going after the terrorists in their hideouts. We are also going after the bandits until we silence them," the CS said.

Speaking at Antubetwe Kiongo Market during a security meeting on Tuesday, Prof Kindiki also directed that an Anti Stock Theft Unit be established in the area before an operation kicks off.

He was accompanied by security teams from Meru and Isiolo County, Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi, Deputy governor Isaac M'Ethingia, MPs Moses Kirima and Mugambi Rindikiri.

The meeting was prompted by the recent killing of former Antubetwe Kiongo MCA George Kaliunga on Sunday.

However, CS Kindiki called for formation of a special investigation team to probe the killing of the former MCA saying his killing was suspect.

Three other people have been killed and one injured in cattle rustling incidents in the area in the last two weeks.

"I do not buy the theory that the former MCA was killed by bandits. I therefore direct the DCI to investigate and bring the culprits to book. I also request the internal affairs unit to look into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the former MCA as he accompanied the police," CS Kindiki said.

According to Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi, an operation to mop up stolen livestock should be conducted in Isiolo.

"We are aware our neighbors lost many animals in the drought and are targeting Meru to restock. We have suffered under the cattle rustlers for many years," Mr Murungi said. 

Further, the CS directed that two police posts in Mutuati Sub County be upgraded to police stations. 

"We are in the process of vetting police reservists to enhance security in Meru North. I will ensure we deploy 200 reservists in the next one month," he said.

The interior CS further ordered Meru County Commissioner Fred Ndunga and his Isiolo counterpart Geoffrey Omoding to work together to ensure security is heightened along the border.

Meanwhile, CS Kindiki also called for an urgent security meeting between Meru and Tharaka Nithi County commissioners to address boundary conflicts.

In the recent past, tension has been building up in areas bordering Meru and Tharaka Nithi over land disputes.