• The officers were sent to the area last weekend after armed bandits posing as camel herders from neighbouring counties killed and injured residents.
• In under three weeks, two people were murdered by armed camel herders in Kanyunyi village.
The government has deployed officers from the General Service Unit and Border Patrol Unit in bandit-prone Ngomeni ward, Mwingi North, in Kitui county.
The officers were sent to the area last weekend after armed bandits posing as camel herders from neighbouring counties killed and injured residents.
Kyuso subcounty police commander Nicholas Mutua on Tuesday said the government has beefed up security in the area.
There has been tension after bandit attacks sent residents of Mandongoi, Kanyunyi, Kiseuni and Kyandani kya Masamba out of their homes.
In under three weeks, two people were murdered by armed camel herders in Kanyunyi village.
Another villager suffered injuries after a herder stabbed him in the back of his neck.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki visited the area on November 22 and assured residents of their security.
But as Kindiki addressed the security meeting at Mandongoi trading centre, gunshots were heard about three kilometers away.
Kindiki asked security officers to use their weapons within the law to deal with the bandits.
He said 250 National Police Reservists would be recruited to increase security in the area.
A day after the CS left, bandits raided Mandongoi trading centre, occasioning a 30-minute fierce exchange of fire between them and security men patrolling the centre. The criminals were repulsed.
The attack in Mandongoi caused panic and residents fled their homes.
Although the majority of residents have returned home, some are still hiding in the bush.
“The security situation in Mandongoi area is not bad currently because the GSU and BPU are carrying out intensive patrols. The majority of people who had fled their homes in fear have started returning since the contingents arrived last weekend,” Kyuso police chief said.
On Tuesday, local cleric Jeremiah Nyayo said some families, especially in Kanyunyi and Kiseuni villages, have not returned home.
He alleged that camel herders were still present in Kanyunyi, Kisueni and Kyanda Kya Masamba villages.
Nyayo said residents feared they would be attacked should they return to their homes.
“When you see a camels anywhere you should always know that a fully armed herder is in the neighbourhood. That fact is what is making the residents dread going back to their homes,” he said.
Nyayo said the affected villagers are suffering not only from lack of food but they also lack clothing and bedding. He said they spend cold nights in bush and makeshift shelters.
“These people need food support, clothing and bedding,” the cleric, who runs the Mandongoi Full Gospel Church, said.
He said as they fled, the families lost property, livestock and their food stock was stolen.