The Star (Nairobi)

10 November 2012

Kenya: 500 Police Sent to Recover Guns in the North Rift

Armed Turkana residents in Kainuk at the cleared land for farming,war has beenthe biggest hindrance to food security in Turkana. Photo.Jack Owuor

THE government has deployed an additional 500 police officers to mop up illegal guns in Baringo, Pokot and Turkana.

Rift Valley police boss John M'Mbijiwe said they are recovering the arms from bandits who have displaced more than 6,000 residents from their homes. He said police have recovered 1,200 guns from the communities in the three counties.

"We want to end the problem of banditry by ensuring that those who illegally hold guns either surrender the weapons or are dealt with by security forces," said M'Mbijiwe. The disarmament is expected to start in the next few weeks.

Hundreds of families have fled their homes on the borders between the three districts following an increase in cattle rustling last month. Marigat DC Saul Muywaya, for the second time, visited the affected areas where families said they feared more attacks "because the government is unable to stop banditry in the area".

"We are wondering why the government is not taking the insecurity issue in this region seriously yet people are losing lives and many others getting displaced," said ole Mpaka.

He said the insecurity in parts of Baringo is likely to worsen as the general election approaches because the attacks are calculated to displace one community from the area.

"We are also interested in knowing why some of our MPs are quiet on this issue yet its their constituents who are involved in the raids." He questioned why the attacks took place even after the government deployed security personnel to Arabal location, which is the most affected.

Mpaka asked the government to deploy home guards. However, Muywaya said the government has taken measures to deal with the situation. Baringo county education director Hellen Nyang'au said they may be forced to move KCPE candidates in areas hit by the clashes.

Affected schools include Kapindasum, Kasiela, Chemungirion, Ngelecha and Arabal primary schools. The schools have remained shut for a month now.

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