Four more killed in Samburu as bandits continue to terrorise locals

Bandits and illegal guns

An armoured personnel carrier patrols Marigat-Mochongoi road in Baringo County on February 16. Four more people have been killed in two separate bandit attacks in Samburu County despite the ongoing security operation in the region bringing number of casualties to 10 in the past one week.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Four more people have been killed in two separate bandit attacks in Samburu County despite the ongoing security operation in the region.

Two herdsmen were gunned down on Saturday afternoon at around 2pm at Lolmolok area by armed bandits believed to be from a neighbouring community.

This now brings to ten, the number of people killed by armed bandits in a span of one week, despite the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) presence in the region.

Witnesses told the Nation.Africa that the criminals staged a daring broad-daylight attack and shot dead the herders who were grazing in the Lolmolok grazing field.

"We are being killed in our land. Where else do we go? This is becoming worse because the bandits are displacing us," said Boniface Lesuyai.

The two reportedly died on the spot after sustaining severe gunshot wounds. The victims' bodies have been taken to the Samburu Referral Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem.

In another separate incident, armed bandits raided Marti area in Samburu North in the wee hours of Saturday. They killed two children before driving away an unknown number of livestock.

According to locals, the daring bandits drove the animals towards Moruakiring, an area believed to be their hideouts.

"We cannot live this way. Two innocent children have been killed even when the government is leading a security operation. What else can we say?" posed Joseph Ekutan, a resident in Marti.

Incessant deadly attacks in the region by armed bandits have had more than 1500 people displaced from their remote residential areas. Gangs of heavily armed bandits are prowling the vast and mountainous Malaso and Kur Kur valleys believed to be their "operation area."

As of Saturday, over 1600 villages poured into Loiborngare and Loosuk town centres following deadly attacks in the region which have left more than ten people dead in the past week.

So far, a total of five schools have been closed down as a result of banditry activities in Samburu. Pura, Lkeek Sapuki and Seepei primary schools are among those affected and learners are yet to report back to school for first term due to banditry activities.

According to locals, defiant bandits have turned Malaso and Kur Kur valleys their "operation territory" as they continue to stage mockery attacks in the entire Lorroki division, Samburu West.

Whenever gun-slinging criminals stage attacks across villages in the region, they often drive livestock down the valley making it impossible for security troops to trace them.

The Malaso and Kur Kur valleys have a tantalizing view from a distance, but beneath, it is bandits' haven.

The edges of the Rift Valley connecting Suguta Valley, spreading between Turkana and  Baringo counties, do not have good accessibility. The terrain is sharp-rocky and mountainous with thorny shrubs and cacti.

The ongoing security operation in other bandit-prone counties: Turkana, Baringo, and Elgeyo Marakwet has dislodged bandits from their hideouts who have reportedly sought refuge in the Malaso and Kur Kur valleys in Samburu County.

A contingent of formidable forces is on the ground to restore normalcy in parts of Samburu West, affected by the recent spate of banditry activities.

The forces are drawn from the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), General Service Unit (GSU), Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU), and National Police Reservists (NPR).