Laikipia North residents have appealed to the government to restore National Police Reservists (NPR) to aide in intensifying security and provide a check on perennial banditry attacks.
Speaking at a public baraza chaired by Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri and other senior security officials in the county, residents decried that security officers were not available in sufficient numbers to maintain security.
“We are here as people who want peace in Mukogodo and get solution of this problem that has affected everyone. This is not a simple task, the situation is deteriorating because police officers are few and not enough to man all areas,” decried Kuti Masin an elder from Ilpolei in Mukogodo East, adding that peace restoration takes time.
They said NPR to be stationed at Seek area which is between Rekuruki from East side and Murpusi, they noted bandits have been using those two areas as escape routes after committing heinous crimes. Laikipia North is mostly inhibited by Maa communities.
On Monday, residents said, thugs of about 30 young men stormed Doldol day secondary school and made away with three bags of rice weighing 50kilograms, two bags of beans, salt-five kilograms, sugar and tea leaves, leaving starving pupils at mercy of God to soldier on as hunger pangs continue to bite in Laikipia.
Away from food stuffs item, bandits have been stealing cattle where residents said after wiping out livestock in the area, they resorted to food stuffs. However, no recent recorded livestock theft incident.
Kanyiri spent better part with local community elders to unravel the root causes of perennial insecurity situations before conducting public barazas where he assured residents that government is committed to restore peace.
“On issue of NPR, we have discussed it with security team and we will supply you with NPR and not as many as you want. We will push your proposals and when granted, they will be stationed at Doldol and Kiwanja Ndege,” promised the county commissioner.
Kanyiri warned bandits that their days are numbered and once caught they will be dealt with.
The county commissioner further urged parents to take their children to school noting government is working to partner with NGOs like world vision and others to support the most vulnerable students in the area.
“It is important for children to remain at school. We will monitor how relief food is helping them learn and also, it’s a parental responsibility to educate their children. They will be important people in the community,” said Kanyiri.
A section of residents claimed that, famine had aggravated food stuffs theft situations in Doldol town where there had been sporadic shoplifting.
Doldol Boda Boda chairperson Stephen Mamai said insecurity in Laikipia North could only be addressed through NPR deployment and formation of quick response by security officials.
“Insecurity is not new here; we have had the issue for longest time and our thinkable solution is deployment of more NPR. They can be stationed in our towns including Doldol and Makurian.
Mamai urged, boda boda riders to be included in security committees to help in security surveillance and at the same time called on quick response by security officials.
“As boda boda riders, we would like to work closely with security team since we move from place to place. With that, we can be well positioned to report any suspicious activities to the chief who will escalate to top officials,” said Mamai.
He appealed to traders to work in harmony with the community aimed at stemming down insecurity which he revealed that some of the criminals are not from far areas.
Mamai noted that once residents are supplied with relief food by the government that will help in taming down insecurity.
Residents also claimed that Mukogodo forest has been used as hideouts zones by bandits which they urged to be flushed out and restore calmness in Laikipia North. Other affected areas are Tiamamut, Ilimotiok, Sang’a, and Ntalabany areas.
Laikipia North Maendeleo ya wanawake representative Jane Saikon said, due to drought, their livestock prices had drop which they have been selling at a throw away price in order to feed their families and pay school fees. Appealed women to be involved in peace committees too.
Residents also appealed for formation of community security surveillance team and strengthening of Nyumba Kumi initiatives.
Laikipia county police commander John Nyoike told bar owners not to operate beyond 11 pm.
With about 183,000 facing famine in Laikipia, the government has been distributing relief food to all affected households.
On Monday, Pastor Dorcas Gachagua, spouse to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua flagged off relief food worth Sh 6million in Laikipia and assured boreholes sinking to address water crises within six months. Relief food distribution still ongoing in other affected areas.
By Muturi Mwangi