• Abdirisack Jaldesa has reported as the new county chief in Baringo where he replaces Henry Wafula; In Elgeyo Marakwet John Korir has replaced Ahmed Omar.
•Jaldesa and Korir have served in other areas prone to banditry and are experienced dealing with cattle rustling.
New commissioners have taken over in Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties, while more security officers have been deployed to fight criminals in the Kerio Valley.
In the past week, the death toll has risen to 10.
Abdirisack Jaldesa has reported as the new county commissioner in Baringo where he replaces Henry Wafula while in Elgeyo Marakwet, John Korir has replaced Ahmed Omar.
Jaldesa and Korir have served in other banditry-prone areas and are experienced in dealing with cattle rustling.
“We welcome the the new county commissioners with experience in dealing with the kind of security challenges we are facing," Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wesley Rotich said.
Rotich however said the current attacks in the region are no longer banditry because the armed gangs are now targeting women and children, schools, hospitals and other institutions. They have nothing to do with livestock.
“That is why I wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta, telling him that what is happening here is no longer banditry. It’s at the level of genocide and terrorism because we are losing innocent people daily and we need his intervention," Rotich said.
He said schoolchildren within the affected areas are unable to prepare for national exams in March because criminals are operating even in school compounds. They have killed several children.
“This region is part of our country and children are growing up under very stressful circumstances. We are pleading with President Kenyatta to take measures to save the lives of our people," Rotich said.
Two more people were last weekend shot dead, causing hundreds of people to flee their homes as leaders sought state intervention as in the multi-agency approach in Laikipia.
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i ordered additional deployments of security teams in the region as leaders said violence was getting out of hand.
Extra security teams are being deployed around more than 30 schools in the worst-hit areas in Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot counties.
With just two month to the the national examinations, several schools are on the verge of closure with Rotich saying that the criminals had paralysed most activities in the region.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said leaders from the region would travel to Nairobi to discuss the violence with Uhuru and Matiang'i.
Matiang'i has been saying the violence in Laikipia, and presumably Kerio, is not over cattle but land ownership.
“If they are not coming down to help save our people, then we will go to Nairobi to look for them because it’s the government that has capacity to fight the criminals hounding us," Rono said.
They called for more security patrols, more police stations and revival and deployment of National Police Reservists who are familiar with the territory.
NPRs were disarmed. Some are to be redeployed but only after thorough vetting, professional training and lodging in police camps where they are answerable to commanders.
In the past, when they lived in communities, some have been linked to banditry and other crimes.
(Edited by V. Graham)