The Ministry of Interior and National Administration has converted 592 rangers employed by the County Government of Narok to National Police Reservists in a bid to boost security at the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Interior and National Administration PS Dr. Raymond Omollo said the move was informed by the fact that the status of a ranger comes with limitations in terms of equipping, training and operational capacity in the rapidly emerging security threats within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Omollo revealed his ministry, through the National Police Service, has allocated 464 modern guns to replace the old Mark 4s previously in the hands of the rangers.
“We gave the registration of all County Rangers as NPR first priority to pave the way for other improvements in capacity building through training and the provision of improved modern firearms,” said the PS, during the commissioning of the new NPR event held Thursday at Keekorok lodge in Maasai Mara.
Dr. Omollo said the county rangers had been taken through a rigorous paramilitary capacity training in different government training colleges such as General Service Unit (GSU) training college, Administration Police Training College, Kenya Forest Service training college and Kenya Wildlife Service law enforcement academy in Manyani.
He expressed confidence that cases of poaching, perennial human- wildlife conflicts, illegal logging and environmental degradation especially in the Maasai Mau forest will be a thing of the past.
The commissioned NPS, the PS said, will be under the command of the County Police Commander, who he said will help in the multi-agency framework of securing the Maasai Mara game reserve, the Loita forest, Mau forest and any other duties that he will assign to them.
In addition, the new NPS will be required to strictly adhere to the National Police Service Act as well as the service standing orders.
“The officers commissioned are drawn from Trans Mara East and West, Narok Central and Narok West sub counties,” he said.
The PS called upon the residents to embrace the new way of working between the two levels of government as they spread the message of peace and security across the county.
“The starting point is for all of us here to be peace crusaders and indeed, if all of us observe the rule of law, support and respect the institutions charged with managing our day to day security, we will surely have a peaceful and forward looking county in terms of social-economic development,” Omollo said.
On his part, Narok Governor Patrick Ntutu said the county government will purchase modern troop carriers, land-cruisers and regularize maintenance arrangements for the firearms.
Ntutu also said the county government will ensure standardized provision of food ratio, fuels as well as improve housing facilities for all NRPs.
The occasion was also attended by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohamed, Tourism PS John Olotua and the Narok County Security team led by County Commissioner Isaac Masinde.
By Ann Salaton