181 reservists sent to trouble spots in bid to stop banditry

A police reservist in Arabal

A police reservist in Arabal escorts primary school pupils home on March 14.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

 The government has deployed 181 national police reservists in efforts to bolster the fight against bandits in Samburu West.

The officers graduated after undergoing a month-long training with the paramilitary General Service Unit in Ltungai in Samburu West constituency.

The National Police Reserve (NPR) is an auxiliary force that is made up of volunteers operating within their own localities.

Security operation

 The new reservists are expected to complement a joint police-military security operation to tame rising cases of banditry in Pura, Longewan, Lkeek Sapuki Malaso.

This brings to 475 the number of NPRs recruited since November last year, when Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced the return of police reservists in the volatile region.

As of January this year, about 294 police reservists had graduated, with the Kenya Kwanza administration banking on home-grown solutions in the fight against endemic cattle rustling.

 The NPR officers received special training to enable them tackle the cattle rustling menace.

Samburu County Commissioner Henry Wafula said the officers will help maintain peace and security in the region.

“Their mandate will be to ensure citizens and their properties are protected,” Mr Wafula said.

Senator Steve Lelegwe expressed optimism that the return of the reservists will help contain the vice.

“The training of NPR will go a long way in complementing the national government’s efforts to curb banditry,” Dr Lelegwe said.

The legislator vowed to work with other stakeholders to put an end to rampant insecurity that has brought untold suffering to locals over the past weeks.

“We call upon local communities to support security efforts in order to build a lasting peace in the region,” he added.

The development comes amid intensified aerial bombardments by security forces targeting areas thought to be bandits’ hideouts.

Nation understands the bombings targeted Kur Kur and Pura valleys in Samburu West. Locals said the operation has been going on since Saturday last week.

Details on the operation, however, remain scanty with security forces cordoning off the area after residents were ordered to vacate their homes.

Curb attacks

Yesterday, Kenya Defence Forces troops carried out patrols in Loibor-nkare, Longewan and Pura areas to curb attacks.

Witnesses also told Nation that military helicopters and surveillance drones hovered overhead.

The bandits are reportedly employing guerilla tactics to counter military offensive.

Locals told Nation the bandits attack in groups of two or three,  launching rapid attacks in multiple villages simultaneously.