Bandits shoot and kill another child in West Pokot
Armed bandits shot dead another child in West Pokot County on Friday morning, a day after killing a Grade Six pupil in continuing attacks despite a national security operation.
The bandits believed to be from Kaben Location in Marakwet East ambushed the pupil of Tirap Primary School near his home at 6am.
Ruto Ng’orianya was going for a short call near Cheputel Boys’ High School.
West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said the bandits seem to be on a retaliatory mission after a raid in Baringo County last week.
He said they may be taking vengeance after bandits from Tiaty killed a man from their community.
"Yesterday there was a similar attack in the same village where a Pokot boy named Regan Kaywa, 15, was killed,” he said.
"Anti-Stock Theft Unit police officers have launched a manhunt for the bandits who dashed into a thicket after the attack.”
Resident Melmoh Omidoh told Nation.Africa that the boy’s parents were inside their house at the time of his killing by criminals who had hidden in the bush near their home.
“We have the ammunition that killed him - a G3 that belongs to the government,” he said.
Fresh attacks have occurred in the area despite the security operation to flush out bandits.
Pleas to the government
Area leaders now want the government to walk the talk, having issued many warnings to the criminals.
Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong wants the government to withdraw all guns given to National Police Reservists in Elgeyo Marakwet County and for all community members to be armed.
“It is now clear that the government has failed to protect its people. Let the government come out clearly so that we can protect ourselves. It is bad to arm one community and leave out their neighbours,’ he said.
Nominated MCA Marishana Cheruto accused security officers of failing to catch the perpetrators of crime along county borders.
“The Chesegon Peace Accord has not been honoured. They should implement Matiang’i’s orders of Tot 2021 in Kerio Valley. The special district commissioner for Kerio Valley that has never stepped in the area. We need justice in West Pokot for people who have been killed by bandits. We want our stolen cattle returned,” said Ms Cheruto.
She further called on the government to beef up security in schools.
“We have entered a new year with tragedies. We, as mothers, are devastated and pained for losing our children every month. We need a police post at Chesegon, Sewer, Sabulmoi and Seketow. If it is hard we better move away and become refugees. Prof [Kithure] Kindiki (Interior minister), you promised to beef up security. In Marakwet there is a police post in Liter, and armoured vehicles, but not in West Pokot,” she said.
The MCA also called for unity among elected leaders in the region.
“We are like sheep with no herder. Area MPs should go to Parliament and present our grievances and if the government will not take action, we shall know [sic],” she said, further accusing the government of provoking the two communities to fight each other, escalating the insecurity.
She castigated the government over conflict provoking the two communities to fight and insecurity to escalate.
“Kindiki was digging a serious trench of insecurity in Kerio Valley. We need the government to be neutral. There is no military camp in West Pokot. We need one. Military camps are in Turkana and Baringo counties.”
Ms Cheruto also said Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop, Jackson ole Sapit, should apologise for allegedly portraying Pokots as bandits.
“We need Ole Sapit to apologise. We, as Pokots, have no association with bandits. We need religious leaders to initiate development in the area,” she said.
Professionals from the area have faulted CS Kindiki for taking sides in the insecurity matter.
“He has refused to meet with Pokot leaders as has been done by leaders from other communities. He has visited all counties affected by insecurity apart from West Pokot. He has armed all communities apart from the Pokot community,” said Mr Dennis Kapchok, the secretary-general of the Pokot Professionals.
“The security team killed our livestock at Kainuk. More than 2,000 cattle were stolen from the Masol area. The military officers are used to protect criminals.”
According to the professionals, the government has failed to contain the security lapse in the troubled Kerio Valley region.
Schools affected include Chesegon, Cheptulel, Arpollo, Sabulmoi, Cheratat, Tilakai and Chemalei primary and Cheptulel Boys, Sarimach and Cheptulel secondary.
The professionals further faulted the government over alleged bias in deploying security officers and arming police reservists who are countering the insecurity.
They accused security organs of laxity in stopping killings and arresting culprits wreaking havoc along the border of the two counties.
“We condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the senseless killing of innocent people,” said Mr Kapchok, who argued that the government deploys more security officers in Elgeyo Marakwet while sidelining West Pokot.
Fresh attacks since the new year have left more than 50 people dead, hundreds of livestock stolen and many families displaced in Kerio Valley. This has derailed development, forced the closure of schools and left residents living in fear.