Fear spreads in West Pokot villages after four murders

Fear has gripped residents in villages along the West Pokot and Turkana counties border after four people were on Friday killed in fresh attacks by suspected bandits from Turkana while mining gold at Chepkarerat village, Romos area.

Retaliatory attacks have resurfaced in the region after five years of peaceful co-existence.

Due to inaccessibility and lack of the network in the Romos area, affected families have not received any support as they are in need of food and shelter.

By Saturday evening the bodies of the deceased persons had not been removed from the scene.

Among the affected villages are Kamunono, Chekererech, Chesepee, Kong’ai, Chepkarerat, Apuke, Kasei, Ombolion and Turkwel.

From the North Pokot Sub County headquarters in Alale, one has to go through Loyapat, Lorengip, and Lochalialim-Apuke, pass through the Kasei area or go through Kapenguria, Turkwel road before reaching Romos.

The nearest police station from Romos is at Turkwel and Kasei, more than 100 kilometers away.

Lopet Location Chief Isaac Lomwai said locals are now living in panic and fear for their lives.

Lomwai noted that there is a need to set up a security camp in the area.

A number of villages remain deserted and trading centers closed as locals flee the area to safer places.

According to the locals, many people in the area have been displaced hence a humanitarian crisis looming in the area.

Locals are now crying out for help, warning the situation is steadily getting out of hand if urgent interventions are not put in place.

Many are starving, as food and water are scarce and gold mining has been affected because of the security lapse.

A resident Loluka Kidong noted that residents would be forced to protect themselves.

He called on the Government to end banditry.

Kidong said it was sad to continue burying people.

Kidong noted that residents who are sleeping in bushes have been affected by pneumonia, malaria and mosquitoes.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto condemned the incident, urging locals to remain calm.

He faulted the Government saying security funds do not reach the ground.

West Pokot senator Julius Murgor urged the Government to hasten the identification and vetting of National Police Reservists as promised.

He urged the government to restore peace and end cattle rustling in the area since their children will not go to school because of fear of more retaliatory attacks.

He urged residents to embrace peace and shun engaging in conflicts.

He called on the Government to set up a police station at Lami Nyeusi, Romos, Chesegon, Amolem and Ombolion areas.

Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong called on the Government to man forests where bandits hide, calling for peaceful co-existence in the region.

Lochakapong called on newly elected leaders from Turkana County to embrace peace.

Pokot North Sub County Deputy county commissioner James Ajuang has condemned the incident saying his office is moving quickly to build more police stations in the area.

He said they will soon set up police stations and take post police officers there and recruit national police reservists.

Nominated member of County assembly Mary Mariach said some learners are not in school due to insecurity.

This comes after one person; a traveler was killed by bandits at KWS area in Kainuk on Thursday a day after 40 goats were stolen and a ten-year-old boy kidnapped from the Ombolion area

Fresh attacks are being reported in the area a month after Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki visited the troubled region.

More than 70 people have been killed in the Kerio Valley region since the year began.

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