DEVELOPMENT PLANS

100 suspects, 30 firearms seized in banditry operation in Kerio Valley

Poll violence, low turnout feared but police said region will be secured

In Summary

• Security teams recovered guns, including combat rifles, in the last two weeks in villages in Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot.

• Rift Valley regional coordinator Maalim Mohammed said those holding illegal arms should surrender or they will be arrested and guns seized.

Some of the weapons recovered in Elgeyo Marakwet being displayed on June 16.
FIREPOWER: Some of the weapons recovered in Elgeyo Marakwet being displayed on June 16.
Image: NPS

More than 100 people have been arrested and more than 30 illegal firearms recovered in connection with the anti-banditry operation in Kerio Valley.

When the operation is concluded, communities will be involved in restarting development projects stalled by banditry, officials said. 

Security teams recovered guns, including combat rifles, pistols, ammunition and camouflage gear in the past two weeks in villages in Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot counties. They have been most affected by banditry. 

Rift Valley regional coordinator Maalim Mohammed said those holding illegal arms should surrender them or they will be arrested and the arms confiscated.

“We are on the ground and we will update on more measures to ensure full security is restored in the region," Mohammed said.

Residents have raised fears that insecurity may lower turnout and disrupt the August 9 general election. The government has sought to reassure them that additional safety measures are being put in place.

Mohammed said the security teams had profiled more than 350 people suspected to commit banditry and said they would be arrested.

“We will hunt for all of them so that they face the law," he said.

New measures were ordered by Interior CS Fred Matiang'i who visited the region two weeks ago.

More than 200 additional police officers have been deployed.

A man and his son have been arrested after they were found with 76 rounds of ammunition and empty magazines for AK-47s and G-3 rifles, bows, arrows and  a banned chemical, among other items.

Police suspect the two are linked to a cartel that supplies arms in the region, causing increased banditry attacks.

More than 110 people have been killed in the region in the past six months.

“Those engaging in criminal acts like banditry in Kerio Valley should either surrender or we will get them at all costs, using all means possible. Banditry must be stopped," Mohammed said.

The National Police Service said that last Sunday, police raided the home of Abraham Kiptum in Kaben Village, Kaben location, Tot division, Marakwet East.

They arrested Kiptum and his son, Brandon Kilimo and confiscated the combat ammo, combat gear and other items.

They were taken to Tot police station.

"NNPS  lauds members of the public for being vigilant and passing information to security agencies," an NPS statement said.

"We urge them to continue cooperating with security officers in the spirit of community policing in order to completely restore peace and security."

The security operation follows a visit to the region two weeks ago by Interior CS Matiang'i who said the government would carry out what he called a "painful operation".

“We cannot have people with the nerve to mercilessly kill innocent children," Matiang'i said.

Mohammed said the government was searching for other suspects involved in illegal supply of arms to bandits.

He said local leaders and communities would also be involved in charting new measures to restart development programmes stalled by banditry.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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