MERU-ISIOLO BORDER

No gunfire with bandits in cattle recovery mission — police

Out of 30 cattle, police say they recovered seven, Meru herders have lost more than 1,000 cattle to rustlers in the last four months

In Summary

• Reliable sources present during the mission maintained that there was gunfire that started at about 11.30am and ended at 4pm. 

• Police commander says police not injured, are still in pursuit of bandits. 

Police in Meru have denied there was a shootout between security agencies and bandits in their mission to recover stolen cattle along the Meru-Isiolo border. 

The Meru herders have lost more than 1,000 cattle to rustlers in the last four months.

County commander Patrick Lumumba said there were no injuries to their officers who are allegedly still camping in the bushes in pursuit of the bandits. 

“There was no ambush to our officers and no any exchange of fire, seven cattle were recovered out of 30 and our officers are still in hot pursuit,” he told the Star.

However, reliable sources present during the recovery mission maintained that there was gunfire that started at about 11.30am and ended at 4pm.

On Tuesday night, bandits raided the home of Mutai M’Mukundia and stole 26 cows. 

Nine cows and a donkey were stolen on Monday night from another home. 

Out of 24 cows belonging to Meru North Peace Committee chairman Charles Kamwibua, 15 were recovered by Sunday and the rest are said to have been seen with the bandits. 

Kamwibua said since the National Police Reservists were disarmed.

“The number of goats and sheep stolen across Meru as from June are 928,168 and 21 donkeys from Igembe North and Central, Tigania East and West herders.”

He urged Governor Kiraitu Murungi, county commissioner Allan Machari and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to arm former Governor Peter Munya’s trained officers "who idle at the county headquarters as enforcement officers".

“Nine of my cows can’t be traced since Saturday and on a follow-up rescue mission at Riamui, we were met with a fierce fire. Why were our NPRs disarmed whereas the rustlers remain with sophisticated guns? Is it a government inside job to make us poor?” Kamwibua asked on Wednesday. 

Last week, Kiraitu and Machari sharply differed on the NPR disarmament and security lapses in the county. 

Machari maintained that the disarmed reservists will not be given back their rifles to help fight against bandits until the ongoing vetting is completed and final orders from the Interior ministry are given.

Kiraitu said the reservists can’t undergo thorough training and remain idle while attacks are being launched in some parts of the county. 

In the last month, three people have been killed in Meru in retaliatory attacks by bandits. 

Trade CS Peter Munya’s relative Akindoo M’Imathiu was shot dead at Lanyiru in Tigania East. 

Edited by R.Wamochie