• Some leaders and officials have been accused of colluding with bandits and cartels to get votes and be seen as local champions.
• Internal security PS said involving leaders is one behind-the scene-attempt to end atrocities and open the area up for socioeconomic development.
The government on Wednesday told North Rift MPs they must shoulder more responsibility in the war against banditry.
Deeds, not talk and funeral appearances are needed, Internal Security PS Dr Raymond Omollo said.
Omollo said political mobilisation is one of the behind-the-scenes attempts to end the crimes and atrocities against innocent civilians and open the region to socioeconomic development.
“All we are seeking is an unwavering commitment to the peace cause. All these leaders have to bear responsibility, both individually and collectively,” Dr Omollo said during a consultative meeting with six of the legislators at Harambee House on Tuesday.
Omollo challenged the leaders to leverage their influence at the grassroots and help security agencies isolate the criminals from law-abiding citizens during the ongoing operation.
“Previous attempts to pacify the region have run into a wall of non-cooperation and resistance. It’s not just hard force. We intend to deploy smart warfare and progressively deplete the enemy’s fighting force. The area leaders have a lot of influence, and we believe they are critical assets in this operation.”
The MPs, Julius Rutto (Kesses), David Kiplagat (Soi), Gideon Kimaiyo (Keiyo South), Abraham Kirwa (Mosop), Timothy Toroitich (Marakwet West) and Reuben Kiborek (Mogotio), all committed to actively support the ongoing disarmament exercise and efforts to smoke out the bandits from their hideouts.
An operation is ongoing in the region and so far as many as 50 assorted weapons and dozens of bullets have been recovered?
The military has joined the operation to help eliminate banditry.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Sunday announced in the last seven months more than 135 Kenyans, including 20 officers, have been killed by bandits.
The CS told those living in some targeted areas in North Rift to leave by Monday at 8.30am.
"But where should they go? They call these places home,"a villager said.
It has emerged that some of those targeted bandits have disguised themeless as ordinary villagers.
The affected areas are Korkoron Hills, Tandare Valley and Silale Gorges in Baringo county; Mukogodo Forest, Kamwenje, Warero and Ndonyoriwo, Lekuruki Hills, Losos and Kiape Caves and Sieku Valley in Laikipia county; and Ltungai Conservancy, Longewan, Nasuur, Lochokia and Lekadaar Escarpments, Lolmolok Caves, Pura Valley, Malaso Escarpment and Suguta Valley in Samburu County.
The other areas are Kapelbok, Nakwamoru, Lebokat, Ombollion, Nadome and Kamur caves in Turkana , the Turkwell Escarpment at the interface of West Pokot and Turkana counties.
“The specified spaces are hereby declared scenes of crime and any person found therein from Monday March 13 at 0830 hours will be treated as a suspect of armed banditry, or as a suspect of aiding and abetting banditry, or an accessory after the fact,” Kindiki said.
He revealed the attackers are hiding at the bottom of gorges, escarpments, caves, ravines, hills and forests.
He ordered them to vacate the areas within 24 hours.
Witnesses said they had seen few people leave the area by the deadline.
Kindiki also announced low altitude flights will not be allowed in the parts of North Rift from Monday
Kindiki said apart from aircraft taking part in the security operation, low altitude flighta by any other aircraft over asome specified areas has been banned from Monday until notice.
The second phase of the operation is ongoing in Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.
(Edited by V. Graham)