Group that invaded KWS land in Turkana given seven-day vacate notice

Rift valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed has issued a seven-day ultimatum to pastoralists living in a Kraal on Kenya Wildlife Service land in Turkana south sub-county to vacate due to highway robbery incidents along Kainuk-Lokichar road.

Mohamed said highway robbers were hiding in the Kraal near KWS station in Kainuk and committing robbery along the road that connects Kenya and South Sudan.

He said the highway bandits had crossed the red line following a Sunday incident where they attacked an assistant chief after attacking a police officer. The attack followed a series of highway robberies that left passengers nursing gunshot wounds.

“During the dry season, they came looking for pasture but then started killing wildlife, attacking passengers along the highway, attacked police officers, and now shot an assistant chief. As a security team we have decided those in a Kraal at KWS have seven days to vacate,” said Mohamed.

Addressing a public baraza at Kainuk after a series of meetings with security teams and opinion leaders from West Pokot and Turkana County, Mohamed said there is no reason why those residing in the kraal who come from a neighboring county should not go back to their homesteads because the rainy season is here.

He assured residents and motorists of their security saying from Monday there will be no more highway robbery cases.

Mohamed regretted that bandits had recently even killed an unarmed 80-year-old who was grazing his goats.

“Why kill an innocent old man? It was better if you could have stolen the goats and leave the old man alone and let the security agencies deal with you,” he said.

He said highway banditry had crippled business at the Kainuk trading center and interfered with the transport business to South Sudan.

At the same time, the regional commissioner warned that chiefs who fail to report incidents of livestock driven into their locations would be sacked.

“Chiefs have performed well in other government duties but have not done well in containing cattle rustling. They need to involve village elders and Nyumba Kumi structures to report those behind cattle rustling in their areas,” he said.

Mohamed also promised to ensure that new national police reservists (NPRs) are vetted and deployed to the area to beef up security.

NPR’s were disarmed because some rogue elements were using guns to commit crimes along the highways, he said.

Turkana South MP James Lomenen was among those who attended the meeting as well as senior security officers from Rift Valley.

He said cattle rustlers have now trained their guns on highway robbery adding the bandits have also chased the farmers from their farms and also affected business.

Lomenen said pastoralists who come to ask for grazing land should use peaceful means. “You cannot ask for pasture by force,” he said.

He called on the government to ensure that all stolen livestock are recovered and given to their owners.

  

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