Two communities living in Baragoi Samburu North Sub County where tension has risen following death of two people during cattle rustling incidents have been asked to remain calm and live in harmony.
The tension has been created by fear of revenge attacks after the two separate incidents happened within the past one week
During a series of peace meetings organized by the county security team, county government and local political leaders in Ngilai, Tuum and Logeti villages between the Samburu and Turkana communities on Wednesday, the residents were urged to maintain peace and stop pointing accusing fingers at each other but instead give useful information to the police to help in investigations.
Speaking in Tuum village, a resident Dickson Lesimalele, said that on January 7, armed bandits killed a 15-year-old boy in a botched cattle rustling raid.
He added that the bandits returned on January 10 and made away with cattle but the Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) together with Samburu morans intercepted the raiders before they entered Suguta valley and one raider was shot dead in the process.
“Since then tension is high and we have been living in fear of revenge attacks and every morning we always find foot prints of suspected cattle rustlers near in our village and we suspect they are investigating where to raid next,” he said.
Samburu North MP Alloys Lentoimaga said that they have already forwarded the names of known notorious bandits to the Baragoi security team but nothing has been done.
The MP added that it’s time to change tactic while dealing with the perennial cattle rustlers because using community elders and chiefs to recover stolen livestock is not yielding fruits.
“Instead of sending chiefs and elders to negotiate with armed bandits to return of stolen cattle, I urge the Inspector general to deploy GSU officers from the two camps in Baragoi to peruse the bandits immediately they strike so that they can be dealt with once and for all, he said.
Nyiro Division Assistant County Commissioner (ACC) Charles Musoi confirmed that they have received names of suspected cattle rustlers from public and that investigations are ongoing.
“The names are there and police have launched investigations and very soon the suspects will be arrested. I also want to assure residents that the government is here to protect every citizen and their property,” he said.
Samburu governor Moses Lenolkulal also called on peaceful coexistence between the two communities adding that insecurity in the area is caused by few criminals from both sides and not the entire communities.
Samburu women representative Maison Leshoomo said that increased insecurity in the region has led to lack of development contributing to high levels of poverty.
“Even if we get development money, there is nothing that is being done due to insecurity, today you have livestock tomorrow they are gone, you have a business today, tomorrow it has closed as people are on the run for fear of their lives,” she said.
As they urged locals from both communities to shun hatred and live in peace, the leaders also called on the government to adopt new measures including deploying more police officers in the region and reintroducing National Police Reservists (NPR) so that they can work with ASTU in order to beef up security.
By Robert Githu