North Rift remains restive despite disarmament drive

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023 01:50 | By
North Rift remains restive despite disarmament drive. PHOTO/File

Armed bandits continue to kill and terrorise residents of the restive North Rift despite the heavy deployment security personnel including the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) casting doubts over the viability of the exercise which kicked off two weeks ago.

 People Daily has established that at least five people including minors have been shot dead in banditry ravaged Baringo, Samburu and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties and hundreds of livestock driven off.

 Among the areas where the killings have been reported include Yatya in Baringo North constituency where two people were shot dead over the weekend, barely three days after another was killed in the neighbouring Kagir village.

And on Saturday, a 10-year-old boy was shot three times by bandits in Yatya in Baringo North sub-county where the grade five pupil was looking after their livestock when the bandits struck.

Community raids

The bandits believed to be from the neighbouring community raided the area and made away with 42 heads of cattle. The boy is receiving treatment at the Baringo County Referral Hospital. Area residents narrated hearing gunshots during the 3pm incident forcing them to scamper for safety.

According to Thomas Kiburet, the attack saw residents of Yatya village scampering for safety.

“The attackers were hiding in a nearby bush and waited for KDF Amoured Personnel Courier APC) that was patrolling the area to pass, before striking,” said Kiburet.

 Another resident Musa Chesir sustained gunshot wounds on his left hand, was also among the three men and the minor who were caught up in the melee.

 “We saw more than 60 heavily armed raiders during the daring attack. Tension in high in the area and some residents are beginning to flee the area fearing for their lives. How can we continue living in a region where we don’t know what will befall us next,” said Sarah Cheburet, a resident of Kashiela in Baringo South.

 Many residents faulted the ongoing operation which they were categorical that it has not borne much fruits.

 “What was the meaning of the operation if innocent people continue to be butchered by armed bandits in cold blood. The officers should deal more decisively with these criminals if the operation is to achieve any fruits,” said Chesir.

 Fears are now emerging that learning will be paralyzed in many schools in the area due to insecurity with parents threatening not to take their children to school after the half term break.

 “We cannot take chances with the lives of our children until they are assured of our security. The criminals have moved close to villages after fleeing their hideouts despite the ongoing operation,” said Nicholas Koros, a parent. Some of the areas worst hit in Baringo North sub-county include: Kagir, Chemoe, Ng’aratuko, Kosile, Yatya and Chepkesin.

Interdenominational prayers

 A tough-talking President William Ruto on Sunday vowed that the government will deal firmly with the bandits who seem to be daring his administration.

Ruto who spoke during an intermediation prayer service in Kapsabet, Nandi County also said that all schools closed in the banditry prone region as result of insecurity will be reconstructed and re-opened in the next 60 days.

 Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich who presented a petition to President Ruto on insecurity, welcomed the deployment of the army which he said was the only lasting to end killings of innocent civilians in the restive region which has seen more than 100 people including 24 police officers killed in the past six months.  “The operation had not achieved much as the KDF officers were receiving instructions from police officers. A serious operation should now start if any meaningful peace is to be achieved,” said Governor Rotich.

More on News