VOLATILE AREA

Tension high in Baringo North after bandits kill old man

Hundreds flee homes as banditry attacks persist

In Summary
  • Fearing for their lives, the residents have now camped at their relatives’ homesteads in the nearby Buruyo, Bartabwa and Rimo villages.
  • The residents have called upon Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i to move with speed to address the matter which is already getting out of hand.
Residents and police officers stranded in the bushe at Kisumet after armed bandits attacked the area killing an old man on Friday.
Residents and police officers stranded in the bushe at Kisumet after armed bandits attacked the area killing an old man on Friday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Abandoned structures at Chepkesin primary school in Bartabwa, Baringo North closed down indefinitely amid runaway insecurity.
Abandoned structures at Chepkesin primary school in Bartabwa, Baringo North closed down indefinitely amid runaway insecurity.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Volatile Kisumet area in Bartabwa ward, Baringo North where an old man was attacked, killed by bandits on Friday.
Volatile Kisumet area in Bartabwa ward, Baringo North where an old man was attacked, killed by bandits on Friday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Hundreds of residents have fled volatile Kisumet village in Bartabwa, Baringo North subcounty, after armed bandits killed a 65-year-old man.

The bandits fired four bullets on the stomach and chest killing Tugen elder Kipkenei Kimurio on the spot last Friday.

“The man was alone in his house busy cooking his evening meal when the criminals stormed and took away his life,” a resident, David Lomul, said on Tuesday.

Fearing for their lives, the residents have now camped at their relatives’ homesteads in the nearby Buruyo, Bartabwa and Rimo villages.

Four primary schools namely Chepkesin, Kisumet, Chepkew and Kapng’etio have been closed down indefinitely while partial learning takes place in Toboroi, Kapturo, Chemoe, Yatya, Kagir, Ng’aratuko and Loruk.

Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya held a peace meeting at Kolowa border of  West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties on December 25.

The residents have called upon Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to move with speed to address the matter which is already getting out of hand.

Lomul said after the incident the bandits shot in the air several times to scare away the residents before disappearing into the bushes towards the neighbouring Tiaty subcounty.

“For sure government has left us at the mercy of bandits as if we are not part of this country,” Lomul said.

Baringo North OCPD Fredrick Odinga confirmed the incident saying no livestock was stolen during the attack “although tension remains high in the area” he said.

On December 11 last year, Administration Police officer David Omondi was shot dead at Chepkesin near Kisumet. He was accompanying his colleagues on a normal security patrol.

In October, a KDF solder from the area was buried after being shot while helping to repulse bandits in Laikipia.

According to Odinga, a number of heavily armed bandits are illegally grazing hundreds of livestock along the Baringo North-Tiaty borders.

He also said the valley has poor roads and communication network, making it difficult to access and deliver information on time

Natembeya called on administrators led by county commissioners to mount pressure on chiefs and village elders to hunt down the criminals.

"Assistant county commissioners should task the chiefs to ensure the bandits are identified and pursued to their hideouts,” Natembeya said.

He warned local administrators who fail to report the attacks saying they risk losing their jobs.

Bartabwa ward MCA Reuben Chepsongol said the residents have had sleepless nights for the last three months as the bandits graze their livestock in the nearby bushes.

“It is high time government should get serious and help tame banditry in the area so my people can enjoy peace,” he said.

Baringo North MP William Cheptumo calls on the government to consider recalling the National Police Reservists (NPR) and compensating victims of banditry attacks.

“Our own people should not be massacred frequently while the government keeps watching helplessly as if nothing has happened” Cheptumo said.