Leaders in Turkana County have urged the government to continue with ongoing security operations in Kapedo, Turkana East Sub County until insecurity in the area is fully contained.
The leaders also said they would not mobilize their residents to revenge and instead said they would allow the government to discharge its mandate of restoring peace.
Addressing residents at the county headquarters in Lodwar, the leaders led by Governor Josphat Nanok, deputy governor Peter Lotethiro, Turkana East MP Ali Lokiru, Turkana central MP John Lodepe and Turkana South MP James Lomenen, the leaders said the government should ignore calls from a section of leaders to stop the operation that is aimed at arresting insecurity in the area.
Governor Nanok said Kapedo village has been under siege for many days and vowed to support the ongoing operation.
He called on the government to declare the militants causing insecurity in Kapedo, a terrorist group saying it is an organized group with a leadership structure, an agenda and heavily armed and does not regard the constitution or government infrastructure.
“We cannot sit down to negotiate with terrorists. Until they stop these killings that is when we shall talk about peace,” said Nanok, adding, “I support government efforts to deal with the terror group and there must be no relenting because a few leaders are making noise all because of interests on geothermal resources,” he added.
Nanok said the militants who have killed at least three senior security officers among them GSU deputy director and a chief inspector of police among other civilians should be dealt with firmly like the operation conducted in Mt Elgon in 2008.
The Governor said the conflict is not tribal, clarifying the Turkana and Pokot have coexisted peacefully after interventions by leaders.
He said the Kenya Defence Force should take charge of the operation to prevent more loss of lives among the security officers and civilians.
Lodepe said the government should arrest anybody defending the criminals in Kapedo.
“This is a fight between the terrorists and government,” he asserted.
At the same time, Nanok called on the county commissioner to ensure safety on the roads leading to Kapedo to enable the county government to transport food to the families affected by the conflict.
“We have food in our stores but because of insecurity on our roads it cannot reach our roads,” he said.
Turkana East MP Ali Lokiru called on the cabinet secretary for education to consider the students from the area who have been affected by the conflict and give them special examinations.
“The 25 form four candidates in Kapedo have not been able to report to school due to the conflict and they should be given special consideration,” he appealed.
Lokiru said the militants are well trained and equipped and called on the government to audit all police officers in Tiaty who are on leave and those who have resigned.
“The way they lay ambush and target aircraft and armored personnel carrier (APC) show they are well trained. They are acting with military precision, they are trained to fight and they are well funded because the number of ammunitions they are using,” he said.
The militia also shot at a military chopper and burnt one armored personnel carrier.
He said the bandits have relocated to Turkana south and East warning of a possible spillover of the conflict which “must be contained.”
The leaders called for the disarmament of Tiaty constituents saying some of them still have weapons even after the Turkana were disarmed.
On his part, Turkana south MP James Lomenen urged the residents to be calm.
“We shall not revenge but will pursue education and engage in business to better our future,” he said.
He said the killing of security officers in Kapedo is a great loss to the nation because the government had invested a lot of resources in their training.
“We respect the government as Turkana leaders and that is why we surrendered our guns. Unfortunately, some people in Tiaty constituency did not surrender theirs,” he asserted.
“Leave BBI and address the insecurity. Who shall oversee the exercise if security officers are killed,” asked Lomenen.
by Peter Gitonga