Security agents critisized for failing to put an end to banditry in Laikipia

Security agents have come under sharp criticism for failing to end banditry and cattle rustling in Laikipia, as amnesty allows room for herders to move their livestock.

Residents of Wangwaci ward who had started settling back into their homes now fear for their lives as incidences of banditry attacks continued in the area.

The recent incident on Wednesday afternoon, saw a 64-year-old man sprayed with bullets in broad daylight as he herded his cattle just a few metres from where the Kenya Defense Forces were digging a trench along the Laikipia Nature Conservancy. The bandits made away with 30 heads of cattle.

The volatile conservancy which is located in Laikipia West is home to a contingent of security officers, including KDF, General Service Unit, Rapid Deployment Unit and the Kenya Forest Service wardens. They are currently conducting a security operation.

“It is not clear to us how the government keeps saying that there is an ongoing operation at the conservancy yet bandits come from their hideouts and drive away our stolen livestock through the same conservancy,” said Ol Moran Ward MCA, George Karuiru.

The Ward Rep noted that it was unfortunate that the government had earlier given a 48 hours ultimatum for herders to drive away their livestock from the conservancy yet thousands of animals were still grazing at the conservancy.

“How comes that there are animals that are still roaming at the conservancy yet the government had issued herders 48 hours to drive their animals out of the conservancy two weeks ago. The government should come out clear and tell us who the real owners of this livestock are. We want to know what is happening at the conservancy,” said Karuiru.

Residents live in fear that the bandits may be planning major attacks. “We need less talk and more action. The government should stop giving us empty promises now and then,” said Ms Susan Njeri.

A group of leaders from Isiolo county are said to have gone to the conservancy to plead for safe passage to drive their animals away from the conservancy.

“A group of illegal herders hiding within the ranch surrendered today with a herd of 1,200 cattle,” Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said in a press statement dated September 22, this year.

“The government has offered to escort and provide security to the herders and their livestock out of the ranch on condition that they observe peace,” noted Shioso. He urged more herders to take advantage of the amnesty and government security to leave the ranch.

  

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