Security forces fully deployed and set to flush out bandits, Kindiki says
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has announced that the security deployment in areas designated as ‘Disturbed and Dangerous’ on February 13, 2023, is now complete, marking the start of a joint security operation by the National Police Service (NPS) and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to flush out livestock-stealing armed terrorists in parts of Baringo, Samburu, Laikipia, Turkana, West Pokot, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.
The CS said in a statement on Friday that the operation’s command center has been established, and adequate security personnel as well as land and air equipment have been deployed to ensure the mission’s success.
“Our troops are on the ground, complete with highly ranked NPS and KDF commanders who have met and synergized on a seamless operational approach,” Kindiki said.
The operation aims to eliminate threats posed by livestock-stealing armed terrorists who have terrorized large parts of the six Counties for decades, frequently retreating to difficult terrain within these counties.
The CS said security agencies have sealed off hideouts and are determined to keep criminals out of these areas for good.
“We will strike hard and neutralize all threats in the nooks, crannies, escarpments and gorges where these criminals hide and ensure these areas will never be accessible to criminals,” the statement said.
Kindiki also confirmed that Kenya is currently working with its neighbors Uganda and South Sudan to close any gaps that allow criminals to move from one territorial jurisdiction to another. Those detained in those jurisdictions will be dealt with in accordance with their respective laws.
The CS said the three-day amnesty for surrendering illegal firearms has expired and will not be extended. So far, security personnel have received 39 firearms, 136 rounds of ammunition, and one fragmented rifle grenade (FRG).
He added that the curfew order has been mostly followed, and minor infractions have been dealt with appropriately. To date, 124 people have been arrested and arraigned in court for violating curfew orders.
“The massive security deployment in the North Rift Valley region will remain permanent and will outlive the current operation to flush-out livestock-stealing bands of terrorists who have caused immeasurable human suffering in this area for nearly a century,” the statement said.
Kindiki emphasized that the government is not distracted from other security priorities that the country is facing and will remain alert to detect, deter and neutralize any security threat within the borders of Kenya.
“At a solemn moment like this, which is about our national survival, it is either you are with us or with the terrorists and bandits. There is no in-between, there is no middle ground,” Kindiki warned.
Kindiki stated that the time has come to lay a proper foundation for an equal, all-inclusive country in which this region and all similarly situated regions of the country receive their fair share of socioeconomic and infrastructural amenities in order to open up these areas for development and integrate them into the economy.
“We must silence the guns and permanently so to create the environment for us to build schools for our children, health facilities for our people and roll out development projects to lift the living standards of our people,” Kindiki said.