'Untouchable’ financiers behind bandit attacks, Turkana leaders say
What you need to know:
- Governor Lomorukai said the financiers and perpetrators have been taking advantage of perceived primitivity of border residents to promote cattle rustling
- The leaders said laxity among security personnel was to blame for frequent attacks on Kapedo, Napeitom and Lomelo villages by heavily armed militia
Leaders from Turkana County have attributed the sustained bandit attacks along the border with West Pokot and Baringo counties to 'untouchable financiers and inciters.’
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai, MPs Nicholas Ngikor (Turkana East), Emathe Namuar (Turkana Central) and John Ariko (Turkana South) want the Ministry of Interior to urgently act by arresting culprits to end the atrocities that have resulted in mass displacement and killings of innocent residents.
"As leaders, we are united for a common course of ending the barbaric culture of cattle rustling and we won't tolerate perpetrators and financiers of banditry activities. We shall narrow down on them through our local structures at Kraal levels," Mr Lomorukai at Lokori in Turkana East Sub County.
He appealed to security personnel to swiftly act whenever border villagers or leaders share intelligence information intended to weed out banditry, even if it means arresting influential people within the affected communities.
He said the financiers and perpetrators have been taking advantage of perceived primitivity of border residents to promote cattle rustling.
The leaders said laxity among security personnel at sub counties with sustained attacks was to blame for frequent attacks on residents of Kapedo, Napeitom and Lomelo villages by heavily armed militia.
Residents cited a December 22 arson attack on Napeitom Primary School in Turkana East Sub County and an attempted siege on Lorogon village in Turkana South Sub County by militia they described as well organized, funded and having a steady supply of ammunition.
Kapedo/Napeitom MCA Willy Nalimo said the arson attack was carried out by militiamen from neighboring Baringo County a day after they had killed a resident of Kamuge village and driven away more than 500 goats and sheep towards Nadome area.
"The school administration block that had books and critical documents went up in smoke. The less than 20 police officers manning the village are in the midst of new Kraals that are inhabited by invaders on a mission to completely take over Napeitom," Mr Nalimo said.
Most residents of the village fled in August to Lokori town just before the General Elections after the armed militiamen burned seven people to death while asleep in their houses.
"We thought that the security operation that was later launched after we lost our loved ones will bear fruits of peace and stable security so that we go back to our ancestral land, but the situation is worsening," Blessings Atabo, a resident said.
She said militiamen had been stealing iron sheets from structures at the school and a nearby health facility, but arson attack meant that they want to forcefully evict those who remained behind.
Governor Lomorukai revealed that his administration has set aside funds in the supplementary budget to resettle residents of Napeitom and other areas that have been displaced by conflict, through construction of shelter and drilling boreholes.
Mr Namuar said unity among leaders as well as good working relationship between county and national government will be critical in tackling banditry.