- Armed bandits have frequently attacked, killed and displaced them since 2005.
- Call for a thorough operation to mop up all illegal guns to restore peace.
Baringo residents have pleaded with the government to swiftly carry out a massive disarmament operation or allow them to own guns for self-protection.
They said on Saturday that they have not known peace since 2005 when armed bandits started attacking, killing and displacing people in the county.
“We demand an immediate serious disarmament operation or allow us to own licensed guns so that we can defend ourselves against the killer bandits,” Richard Chepchomei said.
He was addressing mourners during the burial of Kenya Defence Forces officer Robert Amdany at his Siakanin home in Bartabwa ward in Baringo North.
“It is so painful losing such a promising young man who was out to courageously defend the lives of Kenyans,” Chepchomei said.
The laid officer was shot dead while helping repulse armed bandits in the ongoing Laikipia clashes last week.
Chepchomei, who comes from the volatile Chemoe village, said apart from Laikipia, the residents of Baringo North and Baringo South are vulnerable to banditry.
“If nothing is done to disarm the notorious bandits, then it won’t be long before they storm and attack our villages,” he said.
He termed the bandits dangerous and so daring that they face and kill well-trained security officers, including soldiers.
Chepchomei said the killer bandits have been operating with abandon after the government disarmed the National Police Reservists (NPR) two years ago. They attack and disappear into the bushes.
“The NPRs were helping police officers pursue the bandits to their hideouts and recover the stolen animals, but we don’t know what the government later thought that it withdrew them,” he said.
He, therefore, called for a crackdown to mop up illegal guns to restore peace in the North Rift.
Amdany, the fallen soldier, is survived by a widow and two children aged 10 and six. He enlisted in 2015. Koimur Chelang’a, his brother, said as a family they are left with the responsibility of raising the children.
“In fact, he hadn’t even completed constructing his house before he sadly met his premature death,” Chelang’a said.
He appealed to the government to disarm the dangerous bandits.
“Even us here at home are not safe because we are always being attacked by the armed bandits from the neighbouring community,” Chelang’a said.
He said sometimes they have to flee their homes with their children and animals to safer places.
Bartabwa MCA Reuben Chepsongol condoled with the family for losing their son in the hands of merciless bandits.
He questioned why the government should allow "uncivilised people who have not even gone to school" to overpower it.
“Something urgent should be done even if it means killing them or confiscating the illegal guns to enhance peace,” he said, urging the government to investigate where the criminals buy such lethal weapons.
Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya visited Laikipia and promised to fully engage government machinery to flush out the bandits.
However, Baringo residents have appealed for an extension of the operation into their county to restore peace.