PEACE MEETING

60 illegal firearms surrendered in North Rift

Cattle rustling has slowed down development projects in North Rift region

In Summary
  • About 8,000 illegal firearms are believed to be held in the North Rift by bandits and others; 60 were recently surrendered.
  • Natembeya said they will continue seizing guns from bandits until the region is peaceful. He said they want to avoid forced disarmament if possible. 
Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya addresses residents at Kapedo during a peace meeting.
DROP YOUR GUNS: Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya addresses residents at Kapedo during a peace meeting.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Sixty illegal firearms were surrendered during a peace meeting in Kapedo, Turkana, in efforts to stamp out rampant cattle rusting in the North Rift region.

Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya displayed the guns on Tuesday. He said about 8,000 illegal weapons are believed to be held by bandits and others.

The weapons were turned in by residents of Turkana South to reduce banditry and cattle rustling.

The meeting was attended by Governors Stanley Kiptis of Baringo, John Lonyangapuo of West Pokot, Josphat Nanok of Turkana, Stephen Sang of Nandi and Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu. MPs from West Pokot and Turkana attended.

A gun is not a stick. When you shoot somebody he is gone forever and peace meetings won’t bring lost lives back.
George Natembaya, Rift Valley regional commissioner

Natembaya said they will continue collecting illegal guns from bandits until there is peace. He said bandits will be hunted down because they have been causing many deaths and holding back development.

Forced disarmament will not be necessary as long as people continue to surrender their guns, he said.

“The government will deploy enough security officers so there will be no need for anyone to have a gun," Natembaya said.

"We have lost many lives here because of cattle rustling. A gun is not a stick. When you shoot somebody he is gone forever and peace meetings won’t bring lost lives back. What is important is to surrender illegal guns," he said.

The government is trying to stamp out cattle rustling in Turkana, Baringo, Laikipia, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Samburu counties.

Governor Nanok said disputed boundaries have caused communities to go to war over grazing land. He urged communities to let the national government handle the boundaries issue.

Nanok asked the two warring communities to show the benefits of killing one another and say if anyone has gotten rich. He urged them to live in peace for the sake of development.

Turkana Woman MP Joyce Emankor wondered why it has been so difficult to restore peace despite many peace meetings. 

She said other regions like Kainuk and parts of Loima used to be violent but now people are going about their daily activities without fear.

Emankor urged men to live "like women who have no boundary issues" so peace can be realised.

Kacheliba MP Mark Lomunukol told the people of Kapedo to choose peace, saying his area bordering Loima is finally at peace after many years of banditry, cattle rustling and killing.

"It's also possible in Kapedo," he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)