The government will deploy a special squad of police unit to Kamologon and Embobut forests which serves as hideouts for bandits along the West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet border points as a permanent solution to the troubled Kerio Valley, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale has announced.
Duale who toured Kapushen and Chesegon areas in West Pokot on Tuesday, said that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will have a permanently base in the region warning the bandits who had been causing havoc in the region to either surrender or leave the area.
“Things won’t go on as usual. The team will be brought here by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation. We are know their leaders and commanders. The security officers will deal with you. We have been given the names of the culprits, and we shall deal with them,” Duale said.
“KDF will have more camps in these communities, and we will be good neighbours for many years. KDF will be patrolling bandit-prone areas twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
Duale asked residents in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them, adding that the government would conduct a forceful disarmament in the region. He warned the security forces to account for their ammunition.
“We want the County Commissioners in these counties to be cautious as some criminals are using ammunition from some officers. This will not be tolerated by us and those officers selling ammunition to bandits should stop as we have serial numbers and KDF can account for our ammunition,” Duale said.
He said that the government will deploy the National Police Reservists (NPR) efficiently and with balance manner. “No community will have more NPR than the other, or they will miss it entirely,” he said.
Speaking during the same tour, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said that the government has a Marshall plan for the Kerio Valley region.
“West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Laikipia, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties are among those we want to develop,” he declared.
Murkomen noted that the government is in the process of opening up security roads in the North Rift region adding that an effective road system and reliable water supply for both domestic and agricultural use will change the region’s development strategy.
“We will open the roads connecting Kamelei-Kapushen, Kamologon, Cherotwo, Chesuko, and Annet. In one month, we’ll have a communication network in place to help curb banditry activities,” Murkomen said
He asked County Commissioners in the region to sack chiefs colluding with bandits if they are not prepared to identify any suspected bandits in their locations.
West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart, Wesley Korir called for peace in the region.
Area leaders asked the government to beef up security in the area, provide compensation to those affected by insecurity, and disarm those in possession of illegal firearms. They blamed the security team working in the area for their laxity.
Other leaders present are MPs David Pkosing (Pokot South), Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Bowen Kangongo (Marakwet East), William Kamket (Tiaty), Timothy Toroitich (Marakwet West), Joseph Makilap (Baringo North), Florence Jematia (Baringo Women Representative), Caroline Ng’elechei (Elgeyo Marakwet Women Representative), Senator William Cheptumo (Baringo), Wiliam Kisang (Senator Elgeyo Marakwet), and former West Pokot Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo.