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Amolem Police post in West Pokot to curb insecurity

Residents of Amolem Village in Masol Ward in Sigor constituency, West Pokot County, have a reason to smile after the government announced plans to have a new police post within to help improve security in the area.

The residents have for long been affected by banditry attacks, high dependency on food relief, high illiteracy levels, environmental degradation, increased levels of immigration, violence, and destruction of property.

The new police post will serve both locals and traders within and around the county who, for decades, have lived in fear of being attacked by livestock rustlers who have been operating in the area, making them flee from their homes.

West Pokot County Commissioner (CC) Apollo Okello has said that having a police post in Amolem village would help bring the services of the national police service closer to the residents.

Okello disclosed that the unwillingness of the Turkana and Pokot communities to share grazing land due to the rampant drought and famine has been the major cause of livestock raids and rivalry among the neighbouring communities.

“Establishing a police post at Amolem will help bring the services of the national police service closer to the residents. The local community and traders will continue with their businesses since they will feel safer, contrary to previous days, months, and years,” he said.

The residents have not had a police station and have been relying on a police station that is miles away.

The CC said law enforcement officers would be deployed to quell cattle rustlers with the aim of protecting lives and property.

Okello said they would operationalize the police station once the infrastructure is renovated after it was destroyed by bandits during the construction works.

“We have come to inspect the police post project, which was built using funds from the National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF). We have come to inspect the building before we bring the police to the area to offer security in the area,” said the CC.

He said the few criminals who leave among the residents must be isolated for peace to prevail, which the locals want to enjoy.

The County Commissioner urged local administrators to find ways to engage with other administrators of the neighbouring Turkana County in an effort to promote peace at the grazing lands and water points along the border areas.

Okello said neighbouring pastoralist counties of Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet, and Baringo should be encouraged to co-exist to enable them to share grazing land and water points during the dry season to avoid conflict.

“Communities should agree to have the free movement of cattle during the dry season in search of pasture and water for mutual benefit,” he appealed.

He went on: ”most of the time you lack pasture and water for your livestock, and normally you take them to graze and have water at the neighbouring county, which lacks too. They consequently move their animals to your county too, while some take their cattle to graze in Uganda. We need to have good relations with our neighbours because you cannot do without them, and neither can they.”

Speaking during a visit to inspect the site for the police post, West Pokot County Police Commander Peter Kattam said the move would boost security in a stretch of an area hitherto roamed by criminal gangs at will.

Kattam said the police station will fulfil the requests of the residents, especially the pastoralist community, who have for a long time been victims of such heartless gangs.

“The police station will help reduce cases of runaway crimes in the Amolem area and its environs,” reiterated Kattam.

He announced stringent measures that would help end banditry activities that have forced many children out of school.

“We will deploy police officers here to help provide security because we want you to be safe, and your children can also go back to school,” Kattam said while encouraging parents to invest in their children’s education for a sustainable future.

He said education was the best inheritance children could obtain from their parents, noting that with formal education, children would be able to achieve their legitimate dreams in life.

The Reformed Church of East Africa’s Rev. Kipchumba Korir disclosed that due to the ferocity of the attacks in the region, the church was closed and a lot of church property was lost.

Rev. Korir further disclosed that the church had an irrigation scheme that empowered residents through food security, but due to insecurity, agricultural productivity has been severely affected since community members were reluctant to attend to their farms.

He narrated how the area had a school that had to close down due to insecurity and called on the government to help end banditry, noting that many residents’ dreams have completely been shattered due to insecurity.

According to a resident of Amolem village, Nyangrokwang Alekat, they were saddened by the loss of lives and destruction of property along the volatile border of Turkana and West Pokot counties.

Alekat narrated that insecurity has paralysed development along the corridor and scared away local and foreign investors.

Another resident, Lokolikori Lomerle, urged the government to deploy the National Police Reservists (NPR) to help police on the ground in the fight against cattle rustling.

He said they were confident that once deployed, the NPR would assist the National Police Service to maintain peace and order in the region.

Lomerle called upon the government to fulfil its pledge to restore calm in the region.

Masol Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Wilson Chekeruk, together with the Sigor Member of Parliament, promised to drill a borehole, provide a source of power to enable the officers to charge their mobile phones, and ensure the station was well fenced.

MCA Chekeruk urged residents to embrace peace and engage in meaningful socio-economic activities.

He said the facility would play a pivotal role in improving security in the region and eliminating stubborn banditry activities.

By Richard Muhambe and Anthony Melly

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