Residents of Baringo County have been urged to volunteer crucial information to security apparatus that will help combat insecurity resulting from cattle rustling and banditry menace.
The clarion call was made by area County Commissioner (CC) Stephen Kutwa, who stated that they have in the past two months managed to arrest many criminal elements behind an escalating wave of livestock raids in the region.
Mr Kutwa added that the majority of the apprehended gangs have already been arraigned in court, noting that more criminals will be netted if residents support their efforts by passing on crucial information on the whereabouts of the perpetrators.
The county commissioner, who spoke at Moi Kabartonjo Primary School grounds in Baringo North on Thursday during the 60th Madaraka Day Celebrations, said restoration of peace and stability in the region is a collective effort of all stakeholders.
He asked the bandits to surrender all illegal firearms in their possession immediately, as the government would not relent in its pursuit to ensure all culprits were brought to book and made to face the law.
Mr Kutwa directed chiefs and their assistants to collaborate with security officers currently conducting operations across six affected counties to ensure 100 per cent recovery of all stolen livestock.
“The new government directive is that whenever livestock is stolen, it should be returned to the rightful owners, and the criminals should be charged in a court,” the CC said.
He noted that his office has teamed with other stakeholders, such as the county government, to eradicate the sale of second-generation liquor, which has affected youth in the region.
Kutwa warned individuals who have established liquor joints near institutions, churches, and public spaces that they risk closure since it poses a great risk to the young generation.
He at the same time called upon parents to make it a habit of following up on their children’s behaviour, now that the county has received reports of unsound doctrines that are spreading into schools, especially in Koibatek Sub County.
Governor Benjamin Cheboi, in his address, lauded the national governments which recently deployed 200 National Police Reservists (NPR) to support security agencies in repulsing armed criminals and aid in the recovery of stolen livestock in the area.
Cheboi noted that there is hope after the new officers were deployed but urged those who are still practicing such retrogressive cultural practices to desist and venture into other activities.
“I want to urge those who are still engaging in cattle rustling and banditry to look for other ways. The county government is ready to support provisions for seeds or improved breeds that will boost your income and, in turn, improve your livelihoods,” he said.
The county boss, who was accompanied by his deputy, Engineer Felix Kimaiyo, lamented that alcohol and drug abuse among youth is on the rise in the county.
He said the county administration has come up with measures to control the vice, which they will roll out in three days’ time, targeting unlicensed bars and joints in major towns like Kabartonjo, Marigat, Kabarnet, Eldama Ravine, Mogotio, and Chemolingot.
“From this coming Monday, we will be closing all bars and restaurants within the county which are operating without a license,” he said.
Baringo North Member of Parliament Joseph Makilap said local leaders have put in place concrete plans to combat banditry and cattle rustling, which have tormented residents for over four decades.
Makilap, accompanied by his Baringo Central counterpart Joshua Kandie, said the national government was in the process of opening up several security roads in the area, like the Oinobmoi-Barwesa-Kinyach-Kolowa road and the Kasoiyo-Seretunin-Kasisit-Kampi ya Samaki road, which will connect the highlands and lowlands.
By Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet