Police were on the spot Thursday following increased cases of livestock theft in some parts of the country.
Appearing before the Senate Security and Defense Committee, Interior CS Prof. Kithure Kindiki said he could not rule out the possibility of security officers colluding with cattle rustlers but warned that those found culpable will be dealt with firmly.
He however stated that no evidence had been adduced linking the police to the alleged crime.
“The government is not aware of any conspiracy between security agencies and cattle rustlers. If the investigation reveals collusion we will take action in accordance with the law. As a stop-gap measure we have directed all officers in the field to take charge and that they will be liable…so far we have no evidence but we can’t rule out any possibility” he clarified.
Responding to a petition regarding a spike in livestock theft in Kajiado County, the CS said moving forward officers in the affected areas would be held to account as part of the recommended long-term solutions being implemented.
“We have made progress on this crime around livestock, but we are not out of the woods yet. There’s a lot of work to be done and part of the response in terms of long-term success is putting all officials of national administration and security agencies who are in command under result-based performance contracts. We are working on a framework” he told the Senators.
While terming the vice as a serious security matter, the CS revealed that in the last 7 months, 32 cases had been reported in Kajiado East and West while seven people had been charged.
Overall, he hailed the security operation to flush out rustlers in North Rift region disclosing that a record 7,147 herds of cattle and assorted animals have been recovered in the last four months.
He attributed the success to the gazettement of some remote areas used as hideouts by the criminals as disturbed and dangerous adding that they will keep the hideouts inaccessible and deploy more specialised police units.
“We have determined that banditry is an organised, sophisticated crime, no amount of regular policing interventions will deal with it. We have invested both in terms of personnel (specialised police units) and equipment, the same way we have done with terrorism” he said.
He further called for enhanced community policing to help eradicate the vice.
Unfortunately, he said, the stolen animals were being ferried to Nairobi.
“These thieves have been avoiding roadblocks and official routes. We will track them until we stamp out banditry ” he said.