Residents of Wangwaci location, Laikipia West constituency have appealed to the government to employ home-based National Police Reservists (NPR) in a bid to fight perennial cattle rustling.
The residents said that the camp-based NPR hosted at Kamwenje area in Laikipia County, had worsened the situation in the area bordering Baringo and West Pokot Counties.
“The home-based NPR are better placed to combat the escalating cattle rustlers than those under command in camps that have rendered us poor as this has created ground for banditry.
“We are petitioning the government to reconsider their stand on NPR and arm our youths who in the past fought and brought back our stolen stock,” noted area Member of County Assembly George Karuiru.
The recent case being two weeks ago when about 150 cattle, donkeys, goats and sheep were driven away through the Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
The animals were later recovered by a team of police officers from the area with residents claiming half of the recovered stock was not theirs.
“I lost 75 sheep and goats a week and a half ago. Only 15 have been recovered with the officers forcing me to take emaciated and sick ones that they claim to have recovered from the bandits,” cried Mary Wangari.
Wangari said the government officers for condoning Pokot herders to graze in their area saying she had no other source of livelihood except livestock keeping.
“We have lost stocks yet all our officers go negotiating with the enemies only to return with calves in exchange for the fattened cows that they stole from us,” cried Gabriel Kimani.
The residents cited a gorge on the borders of Baringo and Laikipia counties that the raiders use to escape, as an impediment to recovery efforts, calling on the government to create a security road at the area.
“When the government disarmed all NPR officers and allowed the bandits to remain armed, they allowed this business to thrive.
“Arm our youths in homes and we are willing to stand surety in case the guns are used in criminal activities.
“If the stocks are stolen, we have no business following the bandits, our officers should just make calls to their counterparts to drive them back, we will camp at the border and if they can’t bring the cattle then theirs should be rounded up for compensation,” Wakibia Wairuri.
Laikipia West Deputy County Commissioner Hezron Nyamberi, promised to follow up on the stalled repair of the armed police vehicle at the Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) in the area.
His sentiments were echoed by the MCA who threatened to mobilize the residents to repair the stalled police vehicle.
“We have lost our people during raids, the operations initiated by the government in 2018 went a long way in wiping the area of traitors and perpetrators who escaped to Nagum, Ngoisusu and Arati. These young men are familiar with this territory and are being used to aid the bandits from Baringo,” cried Wangwaci Chief Paul Naski.
By Anne Sabuni