Leaders from Turkana County have blamed State security agencies for the fresh wave of bandit attacks and insecurity at Kapedo, saying they have remained unchecked for too long.
Led by Governor Josphat Nanok, County Speaker Ekitela Lokaale and Turkana East MP Mohammed Lokiru, the agitated leaders on Wednesday said that it was high time locals found "their own ways of protecting themselves while safeguarding their land and property in Kapedo".
They said villagers are now staring at a humanitarian crisis as a result of limited access to food and health services.
The leaders say the catalyst for attacks is no longer livestock theft but a calculated move to displace locals so the area can be made part of Baringo County as a political justification for an additional Constituency, which they vowed not to allow to happen.
The Turkana County Governor revealed that before armed militias from neighboring Tiaty Sub County shot dead a 78-year-old man named Ekai Yapan and injured two others on Monday, 60 bandits armed with illegal firerarms visited Kapedo GSU camp, a government security installation.
"For more than five hours the militias were at the GSU camp with both county security team and the entire structure at the ministry of interior aware of the situation. From there they immediately went into the village and caused havoc by starting fire to burn homesteads and grazing fields, chased children in schools, interrupted health services and launched attacks on innocent locals," Mr Nanok narrated in Lodwar town today.
Though the situation was swiftly put under control by the Kenya Defence Forces, Mr Nanok said the fact that the National Police Reserve from Turkana community was disarmed while their counterparts weren’t had left the villagers vulnerable.
"Half the Kapedo centre from where public barazas are usually held to the hospital is a red zone and has been taken over by the militias. If top security chiefs in the county and the region are still entertaining the militia then they don't deserve the positions they are occupying," he added.
On his part, Mr Lokaale said that Turkana’s leaders feel duped by their Pokot counterparts in Baringo County after organising fruitless peace meetings like the one that was attended by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya last month.
"As we continue embracing peace we we are continuing to bury our children, women and the elderly being shot dead by militias. We won't continue being duped," he said.
The county official reckons that if such attacks were happening in Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa or Kiambu Counties, the State wouldn't have been so slow to respond, to the point of locals and leaders begging for protection.
Mr Lokiru said natural resources like geothermal energy found in the area was fueling the fresh waves of attacks, and questioned why top leadership led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi was silent.
He also asked the State to return firearms taken from civilians or equally disarm the Pokot locals.
Turkana East Sub-County Police Commander Edwin Ogwari, however, assured locals of sustained security patrols to ensure the situation returns to normal.