By Gerald Mutethia
Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding has revealed most of the banditry attacks are not for restocking livestock but to terrify victims.
He claimed banditry attacks and killing of innocent people are meant to create fear and tensions in the occupants of such regions to vacate for the criminals to take over which he assured will not continue under his watch.
He added that the administration is mapping out hot spot areas where drones will be used to monitor the activities of the criminals and flash them out.
About 20 people have been killed in the last six months.
“We have drones to monitor and the government will use any necessary force to deal with such criminals if need be. We will also open up link roads for patrols and mobility,” Omonding said.
A police reservist was among three people attacked and Killed at Mlango in Isiolo last month.
Burat MCA Nicholas Lorot and Somali community leader Osman Shariff Abukar said the insecurity menace had impoverished local communities that rely on pastoralism for their livelihood.
Lorot said the majority of the attacks were happening on the Isiolo side and were aimed at displacing the local communities from their ancestral land to take control of natural resources such as pastures and also benefit from upcoming mega government projects.
He urged the national government to extend the KDF-led operation to Isiolo and establish security units in hotspot areas.
He said criminals from Laikipia, Samburu, and Marsabit continued to unleash terror with impunity, with the latest attack happening about nine kilometers outside Isiolo town.
The MCA said the government should compensate local communities that have lost hundreds of animals in the recent past, saying many of them were struggling to fend for themselves and their families.
Speaking in Meru, Governor Kawira Mwangaza, MPs John Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South), Dan Kiili (Igembe Central), John Mutunga (Tigania West) Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East)and Julius Taitumu (Igembe North) urged President William Ruto to deploy National police Reservists to curb banditry within the porous border between Meru and Isiolo.
The Meru leaders pleaded with the government to expedite the establishment of buffer zones at the Meru/Isiolo border points to curb insecurity.
“I am sad that less than a month after we deployed rangers at Dumuru camp, one of them has been brutally killed by bandits. We are tired of burying our loved ones. We request President Ruto to deploy NPR officers,” Mwangaza said.
Taitumu lamented that Interior CS Kithure Kindiki made empty promises on the deployment of at least 200 NPR officers to the region but not a single officer has arrived in Meru.
“We are surrounded by heavily armed bandits. They have killed two people in my constituency recently. Give us more NPR,” Taitumu said.
Responding to their plea after launching construction of the Kaelo-Mutuati road on Saturday, President Ruto said the interior ministry is doing everything possible to fight against bandits.
“I am aware of insecurity-prone areas and I have told CS Kindiki to ruthlessly deal with criminals. He had challenges in terms of the terms and services of our police officers improvement so that they can effectively fight against ‘Wakora’ (criminals. We will use Sh20 billion to improve police welfare,” Ruto said.
Last month, Nine militia members were arrested and 6 AK47 rifles, 1 FN firearm, 16 magazines, a pair of Jungle Police uniforms, and several rounds of ammunition were recovered in the ongoing operation in the Kom area, Merti Sub-county, Isiolo County.
The security team comprising of General Service Unit GSU and the Quick Response Unit (QRU), were conducting a joint operation when they came into contact with suspected militia men leading to a vicious gunfight ensued but the militia group was finally overpowered by the commandos leading to the arrest of the nine suspects.
Abikar Mohamed Isiolo’s Somali community grazing Chairperson said many of the criminals were crossing over to Isiolo from neighboring counties in the guise of seeking pastures only to turn against the host communities.
In January last year, At least seven Meru residents were killed at Mweronkoro in Tigania East.
The residents were ambushed along the disputed grazing zone by suspected camel herders from Isiolo who were on a retaliatory attack.
The attack came after angry residents drove the herders’ camels out of their farms
Meru residents said this is not the first time such attacks were happening in the area and their main agenda is to grab their land.
They alleged that even after such magnitude killings no arrests are ever made of culprits.