Horror as armed bandits gang-rape 11-year-old girl in Samburu

Security troops readying for an operation to flush out armed bandits from Malaso escarpments in Samburu County.


What you need to know:

  • The traumatised victim was rushed to Loosuk Health Center for urgent treatment by villagers.
  • Since the beginning of this year, about 16 people have been killed in banditry-related attacks.

A bandit attack in Loibornkare, Samburu County on Sunday turned horrific after the assailants gang-raped an 11-year-old girl.

According to Samburu Central police boss John Mwai, the armed attackers subjected the victim to physical violence before sexually assaulting her after they found her fetching firewood. 

The traumatised victim was rushed to Loosuk Health Center for urgent treatment by villagers. 

"The victim is recuperating in the hospital. This is a very traumatic experience for the girl and the entire community. We will keep doing our best to neutralise these gunmen," Mr Mwai said. 

Since the beginning of this year, about 16 people have been killed in banditry-related incidents, with women and children bearing the brunt of these attacks. 

Despite efforts by the government to enhance security measures, including the deployment of military forces, the attacks have persisted in various parts of Samburu West and Samburu North.

Not even churches and places of worship have been spared by the recent spate of bandit attacks.

In Samburu West, churches, which were once safe refuges for the residents, have now closed their doors due to incessant banditry activities.

Villages across Samburu West and parts of Samburu North that were once united by the choruses and rosaries of communal worship, now find themselves besieged by the brazen bandit attacks that have claimed several lives since the beginning of the year.

In recent months, clerics in Samburu have acknowledged that churches have been grappling with the escalating banditry.

The clergymen said communities are witnessing the shutting down of churches that were once vibrant hubs of worship and community engagement, because "banditry has instilled fear and uncertainty among congregants and religious leaders."

Churches that remain closed are Sapai church, ACK Loko, ACK Soit Pus in  Samburu North and 
ACK Pura, ACK Lkujita, ACK Rangau church in Samburu West.

Under the umbrella of Samburu Pastors' Fellowship, the clergymen raised their concerns over attacks and violent killings of innocent people living in the region. 

They noted that the closure of churches and the killing of 16 people in just two months, explains the extent of insecurity in the volatile region.

Despite efforts to calm the region with the deployment of military troops, the spate of attacks has seen scores of people killed and others maimed. 

The church leaders now want the authorities to take decisive action against the killers and their financiers.

“We have been greatly affected with many churches being forced to close down," said Bishop David Lebarleiya of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The clergymen said mere words from government officials are not enough assurance for the area residents.

According to the church leaders, the banditry in Samburu is no longer an issue of cattle rustling.

They said it could be a case of a calculated move aimed at displacing the residents from their ancestral lands.

"We as church leaders feel this is no longer about cattle rustling, but an attempt to displace the locals and grab the land, bearing in mind that the troubled areas are the breadbasket of Samburu County," said Mr Lebarleiya.

The banditry attacks in Samburu, which have persisted for several months now, have resulted in numerous deaths and widespread displacement of people in Pura, Longewan, Amaiya, Soit Pus, Lorian, Lkeeek Sapuki and other parts of Samburu West.

Samburu leaders recently accused the government of failing to contain escalating bandit attacks in the county.

The leaders said these attacks have severely impacted the livelihoods of nomadic pastoralists living in Samburu North and Samburu West. 

Angata Nanyekie MCA Paul Leshimpiro was killed during one of these attacks.

However, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has maintained that the ongoing 'Operation Maliza Uhalifu' will stump out the banditry menace in the North Rift region.

The CS revealed that the government is seeking to review the operational order to add new areas that are turning into banditry hotspots.

Kindiki has also revealed the government’s plans to form additional security units in strategic locations across Samburu County. 

The additional units will focus on areas that have been identified as banditry hotspots, with a particular emphasis on enhancing security patrols, conducting targeted operations, and bolstering intelligence-gathering efforts.

According to the CS, the government is seeking to launch a comprehensive security operation aimed at restoring peace and stability in Samburu and other troubled parts of the North Rift region.

Kindiki also said the government is planning to launch a large-scale operation to clear Malaso Valley, which is a notorious hideout for criminal elements in Samburu County.