Two sisters killed by bandits amid prayers for peace

Murders and cattle theft by Marakwet East bandits on New Years Day during pleas for harmony

In Summary

• The year 2023 is off to a bloody start as bandits kill two gil and steal 70 head of cattle on New Years Day as leaders pray for peace. 

• A day earlier, drones were launched to help in the fight against banditry.

The year began with death in Rift Valley.

Two sisters were shot dead by suspected bandits in Kotut, Endo, Marakwet East.

Seventy head of cattle were also stolen in the 10am killing on New Year's Day.

Residents said the cattle were driven toward Tiaty constituency, a notorious bandit hideout,police said.

The girls were students at Kobulwo Secondary School (Form 3) and Kabetwa Primary (Class 7).  

The raid occurred barely a day after Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wesley Rotich and security agencies launched drones to help them fight bandits.

On Sunday, Rotich urged security agencies to stamp out insecurity and arrest those behind it. 

"While I extend my condolences with the families affected, I call upon all security organs to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book and all stolen livestock recovered," Roich said in a statement.

The killings occurred as leaders, including Rotich and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, gathered at Kapsait for annual peace prayers between the Pokot and Marakwet communities.

Prayers are held on January 1 every year.

“It's sad and disheartening that as we prayed for long-lasting peace among our communities we lost the lives of two innocent girls at Ketut, Endo ward,”Rotich said. 

The killings have sparked fresh animosity among the two communities. 

Tension remains high as security agencies gathered to pursue the attackers. 

President William Ruto and Interior CS Prof Kithure Kindiki have previously warned to bandits their days were numbered.

They pledged to crush banditry.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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