Rift Valley Regional Commissioner (RC) George Natembeya has said that the government will mount a major security operation aimed at restoring law and order in the insecurity prone Kerio Valley.
Noting that Kenya was a country governed by the rule of law, Mr. Natembeya said the country cannot have two sets of laws whereby in one area there is peace while in others bandits call the shots.
Speaking when he addressed chiefs and other members of the national government administration at the County Commissioner’s Hall in Iten, the RC said criminals who have been stealing livestock and hiding in the expansive Embobut forest will be flushed out.
The RC said bandits run to the forest where they hide in caves and lay ambush on police officers saying this must stop forthwith.
“The government will do everything possible even if it means me and my team shifting base and camping in the Kerio Valley to see that we get it right this time,” the RC said.
Natembeya warned that force will be met with force and therefore anyone who confronts a police officer in the course of duty will be dealt with according to the law.
“A police officer is the symbol of authority and if that authority is challenged, then it means wananchi who rely on them to provide security are not safe,” he said.
Natembeya who was accompanied by his security team said chiefs will play a critical role in the success of the operation as they are expected to report immediately when an attack occurs to ensure a quick and swift response.
Noting that the cardinal responsibility of a government was to protect lives and properties, the RC said the government will not allow a situation where a criminal terrorises an area for hours as if there is no government in place and warned that any chief whose location becomes a safe haven for rustlers will be sacked.
The administrator added that some MP’s were on the radar of the security personnel for sponsoring banditry activities and said they will be arrested in public so that they can be exposed for who they are.
“You cannot engage in crime underground by funding bandits, providing them with food, firearms and ammunitions to go and terrorise neighbouring communities and imagine that because you are an elected leader you will not be arrested,” he said.
He said that it was sad that 55 years after independence Kenyan children are denied their right to education as schools close and parents flee due to insecurity.
“We have the power of the constitution, all instruments of terror and coercion and we have the mandate to use them which we will do appropriately to end this menace,” the RC warned.
He said the first team of National Police Reservists (NPR’s) who had gone for training are back and will be deployed accordingly and having received professional training will now work with the police service.
The RC however said he was happy with MPs who have initiated peace initiatives in the area and the number of animals recovered saying this shows that people were ready to promote peace and will therefore deal with the few causing havoc.
Marakwet deputy governor Wesley Rotich said the county was burying approximately five people every weekend as a result of banditry attacks.
“We have a mortuary in Tot constructed by the county and since its establishment, the deaths recorded are as a result of gunshot wounds and not diseases,” he said.
By Alice Wanjiru