IG Koome camps in Baringo, announces progress in war against banditry

Says there has been a recovery of over 11, 000 stolen livestock, over 100 illicit firearms

In Summary
  • Koome said Tuesday a new command center has been established for Isiolo, Meru, Laikipia and Samburu counties.
  • This follows increased banditry attacks in the areas in the past months that have led to deaths and displacement of people.
IG Koome while addressing police in Baringo on April 2, 2024
IG Koome while addressing police in Baringo on April 2, 2024

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome spent the second day in parts of Baringo county as he joined teams on the ground that are pursuing bandits.

Koome who landed in the area on Tuesday said he will be there for “a while” to ensure all plans are implemented to address the menace.

He said since the launch of Operation Maliza Uhalifu in the area last year, they have recorded significant gains against the banditry menace with the return to normalcy, reopening and resumption of learning in schools.

There has also been a recovery of more than 11, 000 stolen livestock and over 100 illicit firearms.

“We are working from everywhere to ensure normalcy for all Kenyans,” he said.

“The current resurgence of banditry that we are witnessing in Baringo, Isiolo and Meru Counties this year will neither be condoned by the government nor law-abiding citizens of Baringo, Samburu, Meru, Isiolo and indeed, the entire North Rift Region,” he said.

He said whether the resurgence of these attacks is attributed to retaliations among members of communities, or collaboration among communities to attack members of other communities or be they targeted attacks on security personnel and installations, expansionist tendencies or the commercialisation of banditry as the case has been the law has to be followed.

Koome said Tuesday a new command centre has been established for Isiolo, Meru, Laikipia and Samburu counties.

This follows increased banditry attacks in the areas in the past months that have led to deaths and displacement of people.

The new centre will now focus on the areas as an existing one focuses on Baringo and other neighbouring counties.

“Besides the Chemolingot Multi-Agency Operation Centre, we have now established a multi-agency command centre for Isiolo, Meru, Laikipia and Samburu,” he said. 

He added they have deployed additional new sophisticated equipment and Formed Police Units in the affected areas including Loruk and Mukogodo to beef up the ongoing Operation Maliza Uhalifu North Rift.

The military and National Police Reservists continue to support the National Police Service with KDF having established additional camps in Nolkera and Kurkur along Malaso belt, Koome said.

His visit comes in the wake of a meeting he and other senior security officials held with President William Ruto on Saturday at his farm in Kilgoris, Narok County.

Koome said Tuesday in February last year, the government declared the security situation in six Counties- Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu-as a security emergency caused by rampant incidents of banditry.

“The situation had deteriorated drastically on account of the widespread banditry characterised by acts of criminality affecting law and order in the counties gazetted as “Disturbed and Dangerous."

“The wanton insecurity as seen in the murder of civilians and security officers, displacement of persons, and paralysed learning activities in the region prompted the adoption of the multi-agency response involving the National Police Service as the lead agency, the Kenya Defence Forces, National Government Administration Office, local leaders, members of public and other stakeholders,” he said.

He said the multi-agency strategy significantly improved the security situation in the region the whole of last year, as seen by the return to normalcy, reopening of schools, resumption of learning, recovery of firearms and stolen livestock.

Amidst the ongoing progress, he added, Isiolo, and Meru counties are currently experiencing a resurgence of cattle rustling and the banditry menace targeting ranches and conservancies.

Similarly, Saimo Soi Ward in Baringo County, Kerio Valley Belt and Morijo in Samburu Central Sub County have witnessed some recent attacks which have led to partial displacement of population, loss of lives, property and closure of some learning institutions.

The situation in the region has continued to deteriorate in the recent past despite the presence of multi-agency security teams.

Several people have been killed by the bandits and others displaced.

Local leaders said more than 70 people have been killed in separate attacks by the bandits in recent months in the area.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki commissioned the first batch of modern security equipment.

It included Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) and Armoured Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Operation Maliza Uhalifu in the North Rift was launched in February 2023, following continuous violent activity by the bandits.

The operation is led by police forces and supported by the military in a multi-agency security team that also consists of National Police Reservists-volunteers operating as supplementary forces within their communities.

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