Political leaders and security officers from both West Pokot and Turkana counties on Wednesday held a peace meeting at Kainuk in Turkana County to cool tempers over renewed attacks in the common border of the two counties.
The two groups discussed and deliberated on ways of solving perennial insecurity problems pitying the communities living in the region.
Since the onset of peace meetings late 2013, there has been drastic improvement on security along the Turkwel Gorge Corridor and cases of cattle rustling raids and killings reduced.
The leaders came up with resolutions to continue with peace meetings, dialogue and peace caravans in hot spot areas along the border of the two counties, pointing out that there are only few pockets which need to be visited.
They agreed that there will be no more killings, revenge, banditry and cattle theft which resulted in the killing of children and women.
During the meeting held at Kainuk Mixed Secondary School, a total of 52 goats which were stolen from Kainuk by suspected Pokot raiders from Sarimach in West Pokot were handed over to the owner.
This is after twenty goats that were stolen two days ago from Kamunono in West Pokot by suspected criminals from Turkana were returned back to the owner.
The meeting follows the killing of at least six people from the both communities along the Turkwel corridor for the last two weeks.
The Pokot leaders promised to return the remaining 66 goats stolen from Kaakong while Turkana elders promised to return five cows stolen from Masol in West Pokot County.
The area has been witnessing relative peace for the last three years.
The leaders included Prof. John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot Governor), the MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South), Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba), John Lodebe (Turkana Central) and Mohammed Ali (Turkana East), West Pokot County commissioner Apollo Okello and Turkana South Deputy County Commissioner Alexander Mativo.
They discussed among other things grazing land for pastoral communities in the counties, food security, water and land issues.
Speakers pointed out that problems affecting Tiaty and Turkana East should be addressed immediately, saying in most cases, problems affecting the region originate from the two areas and spread to other region.
They agreed to deal with culprits wreaking havoc in the area.
They also agreed that the perpetrators should be arrested or killed by shooting or sentenced for life imprisonment so that they can’t go back to disrupt peace in the community.
“Those who killed people at Kaakong, Nakwamoru and Takaywa must be arrested,” said Lomenen who read the resolutions.
Lomenen called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a commission to resolve the boundary issue, saying the dispute on the boundary has been another contributing factor.
Lonyangapuo said leaders from the two counties have vowed to work together in ensuring that order is restored in the volatile region, including rolling out development projects like provision of water and fodder crops to farmers, improving education so that people would not entirely rely on pastoralism for sources of livelihood as well as abandoning archaic cultural practices like cattle rustling.
“Peace is precious as it’s important in the growth of development; there is no way that we can achieve development in the two counties if peace does not prevail. That is why we have agreed to work as a team with all elected leaders so that we can restore peace,” said Lonyangapuo.
Lonyangapuo called upon the National Government to increase security officers in the region, as well as equipping the police reservists in the critical areas.
Okello said that the criminals who participated in the act are known and will be arrested and face the law.
Mativo called on residents not to hide criminals, but report them to relevant authorities for action to be taken.
“We know these few people live with you and proper cooperation will help us to end these vice by reporting the criminals,” he said.
Lomunokol cautioned security officers over laxity, pointing out that they always blame politicians for being catalysts of the vices.
“The security personnel should stop putting blame on politicians whenever there were any case of insecurity but we asked them to perform their work as expected,” he said.
warned criminals from the two communities over engaging in highway robbery along the Kitale –Lodwar highway.
By John Saina.