TIP OF ICEBERG

Turkana surrenders 53 illegal firearms, 300 bullets

Fresh disarmament in Kerio Valley where 8,000 guns held by bandits, civilians

In Summary
  • Sigei said they are educating the community the importance of surrendering illegal firearms because government has improved security.
  • The confiscation of illegal firearms is an effort to stamp out rampant cattle rustling in six counties — Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu and Laikipia
Recovered illegal firearms and round ammunition in Turkana south displayed
Recovered illegal firearms and round ammunition in Turkana south displayed
Image: HESBORN ETYANG
Turkana South Chiefs presents the recovered firearms and round ammunition to the office Turkana South Deputy County Commissiner Philip Sigei
Turkana South Chiefs presents the recovered firearms and round ammunition to the office Turkana South Deputy County Commissiner Philip Sigei
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Residents in  Turkana South have surrendered illegal firearms as demanded by the government, but only 53 guns and 300 rounds of ammunition.

But thee's more to come, about 8,000 illegal guns are believed held in Kerio Valley by bandits and others.

Philip Sigei Turkana, south deputy county commissioner, said they are trying to recover illegal firearms held by the community with help of chiefs and subcounty security committees.

The aim is to curb banditry that leads to deaths and cattle rustling. The worse affected counties are Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu and Laikipia.

Sigei said they are the community the importance of surrendering illegal firearms because the government has improved security in the region.

“The government is deploying more 300 than security officers in the region to protect residents and their livestock. We have recovered 53 illegal firearms and 300 rounds ammunitions in voluntarily disarmament," Sigei said on Tuesday at his office in Lokicahar, Turkana South.

He said there is a great improvement of security since the National Police Reservists were disarmed; robberies and theft along the Lodwar Kitale route have declined.e

Sigei said cattle rustling within the borders of Turkana, West Pokot and Baringo counties has declined.

He said the government has plans to open new police stations and increase patrols.

The deputy commissioner urged members of the community to continue surrendering of illegal firearms.

Robert Kibuch OCPD Turkana South said the disarmament that h started three months ago has picked up though most residents were unwilling to surrender their firearms "until we educated them in barazas about the importance of disarmament."

Kibuchi said through intelligence they have profiled criminals holding illegal firearms and walked from house to house to recover them.

Resident Lolimu Lorinyok of Kapese in Lokichar Turkana South said security has improved , so he decided to turn in his gun.

“At first we were reluctant to give up our guns because without them we cannot protect our cattle from the enemies. We were told to surrender illegal firearms to the government and they will protect us and our livestock from the hands of enemies and we did it,” he said.

The state announced fresh disarmament in Kerio Valley where about 8,000 guns are in the hands of bandits and other civilians.

In July Rift valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya announced that a major forced disarmament operation against bandits in the North Rift region but the date was not disclosed.

Natembeya warned residents till holding illegal firearms to voluntarily syrrender the before the forced disarmament begins.

He spoke at Kenya School of Government in Kabarnet town, Baringo, and addressed more than  500 chiefs.

As Turkana South residents decide to surrender illegal firearms to the governmen, in October, resident of Turkana North and Kibish subcounty had urged the government to call off forced disarmament saying it will make them vulnerable to bandits.

They said disarmament of NPRs in the region will lead to death and destruction since they are being surrounded by bandits from Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Peter Esekon, a herder of Kibish along Kenya-Ethiopia border, said the government should first step up security before attempting forced disarmament.

(Edited by V. Graham)

Turkana South chiefs present recovered firearms and ammunition to the office of Turkana South Deputy County Commissioner Philip Sigei.
ILLEGAL ARMS: Turkana South chiefs present recovered firearms and ammunition to the office of Turkana South Deputy County Commissioner Philip Sigei.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG