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Leaders condemn killing of peace committee members in Kerio Valley

Leaders from Elgeyo Marakwet have condemned the killing of three members of a peace committee as they went to receive livestock from herders from West Pokot County.

The Elgeyo Marakwet county governor Wisley Rotich, Marakwet West MP Timothy Kipchumba and Eldoret catholic bishop Dominic Kimengich have called on the government to take decisive action against the culprits in a bid to bring lasting peace in the region.

The three Patrick Komen (61 years), Joseph Suter (43 years) chairman and treasurer of Endo peace committee respectively, and 32-year-old teacher Eliud Kipkeu were on a mission to recover four goats from West Pokot County when they were shot dead.

According to police reports, a member of the peace committee Moses Chesire reported that his colleagues could not be reached through their mobile phones and that gun shots were being heard around the Kerio river.

 A multi-agency security team comprising the General Service Unit (GSU), Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU)and officers from Mogil police station was dispatched and stumbled upon the three bodies, 8 rounds of spent cartridges, and a motorcycle belonging to one of the deceased. The bodies were taken to Iten hospital mortuary.

The leaders said despite heavy deployment of security personnel in the area, the killings have continued unabated saying more needs to be done to restore peace.

Bishop Kimengich called on the Ministry of Interior to ensure that it disarms all people holding illegal guns saying there were a lot of arms in the hands of criminals which were being used to kill innocent people.

 MP Timothy Kipchumba noted that the government has managed to deal with cases of insecurity in other areas citing the SLDF menace in Mt. Elgon and wondered why criminals were being left to kill people at will in the Kerio Valley.

Governor Rotich said the criminals in the Kerio Valley have been emboldened since they have never been apprehended despite residents cooperating with security agents and even identifying and giving names of suspected criminals to the authorities.

Rotich pointed out that insecurity should not be construed to be involving whole communities but just a few criminals who benefit from proceeds of the killings and who should be dealt with by the relevant authorities.

By Alice Wanjiru and Blessing Kemoboi

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