West Pokot: Tension high as cattle rustling, banditry persists despite police presence

Cattle raids and retaliatory attacks continue to persist despite the presence of the Kenya Police Service and Kenya Defence Force who are undertaking a joint security operation in the troubled Kerio valley region.

In the most recent incident, more than 150 livestock have reportedly been stolen from the Nasolot area by suspected bandits from Turkana county.

Nasolot location chief Michael Mwotor confirmed the incident stating that the bandits escaped towards the Kaakong area in Turkana county.

“Tension is still in the area and search operations for the livestock and those responsible is underway,” he said.

Headers and leaders from West Pokot county have condemned the incident calling on the government to return the stolen livestock.

“The government has failed to protect us and our property from invaders,” said David Domungura.’

Area leaders led by Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong called on the security team in the area to be vigilant and alert.

“The security team should tell us where the animals are. They have not yet returned the animals. We have been victimised to be the aggressors for a long time and today the truth has come out,” said Mr Lochakapong.

Mr Lochakapong called on leaders in the region to shun incitement.

“All those inciting people should record statements. We accepted the security operation and we don’t want selective disarmament. Residents are suffering due to hunger and drought,” he said.

Lochakapong cited that they are in talks with their counterparts in Turkana county to make sure peace resumes in the area.

“We are talking with leaders from Turkana county to ensure that peace prevails,” said Mr Lochakapong.

The legislator 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.

“We urge other leaders to join hands so as to end the escalating insecurity incidents,” he said.

West Pokot senator Julius Murgor said that the security team should end banditry and cattle rustling in the area.

“We need peace in the region. No one is better or worse than both the Pokots and Turkanas. The war between the two communities has fought for decades,” he said.

He wondered why banditry and cattle rustling were still taking place yet the operation was taking place in the area.

“Some leaders are playing politics with insecurity. We have witnessed peace for four years now,” he said.

For the last two month, hundreds of livestock were stolen from Ombolion, Sarimach, Cheprochpohog, Turkwel, Takaywa, Kases, Masol and Lami Nyeusi areas along the West Pokot and Turkana counties border by suspected bandits.

West Pokot county commissioner Apollo Okello who spoke during the Madaraka day celebrations at Makutano stadium noted that the security officers should identify areas where to set up security camps.

“We need security camps at Lami Nyeusi, Ombolion,Amolem and Chesegon,” he said.

This comes in the midst of a border row between West Pokot and Turkana County leaders over the government’s move to set up a major security camp at Porkoyo area, near the troubled Lami Nyeusi area.

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