In Summary

• Major security operation expected. Fear  in Ol Moran area of Laikipia West as villagers flee their homes for safer areas to escape further attacks.

• About 50 houses were burnt on Saturday night and Sunday morning at 100-acre land Kisii Ndogo village. 

Residents of Kisii Ndogo village in Ol Moran, Laikipia West, view what's left after 50 houses set ablaze on Sautrday night and Sunday morning.
DESTRUCTION: Residents of Kisii Ndogo village in Ol Moran, Laikipia West, view what's left after 50 houses set ablaze on Sautrday night and Sunday morning.
Image: ELIUD WWAITHAKA

@Waithaka06

Tension is building in Ol Moran area of Laikipia West as villagers flee for fear of more attacks and arson by criminals.

They are demanding a promised government security operation to end rampant violence.

About 50 houses were burnt on Saturday night and Sunday morning at the 100-acre Kisii Ndogo village.

The latest violence has been going on for more than a week.

On Saturday, the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) met virtually and reviewed the Laikipia situation.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho earlier said the NSAC's decisions would be implemented, though the they might be unpopular with the political class.

He did not elaborate.

During the NSAC meeting, it was agreed the government and security apparatus would change their  approach to ending the violence.

On Friday, Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembeya led security officials from the region to meet residents at Ol Moran.

He urged residents to remain peaceful, saying the government was committed to protect them and their property.

He said a major operation would be mounted to find the criminals and end the attacks.

By Sunday morning, however, residents were still fleeing to churches, police stations and other safer areas.

“Armed bandits stormed our village on Saturday evening and set houses on fire. They demanded we leave," resident Aloise Tumbu said on Monday.

He said his home and nearby granaries with hundreds of bags of grains were torched.

Tumbo is chairman of the Kisii community in the area.

He said more than 150 families had been living on the 100 acres they bought years ago as a cooperative society.

Since they settled, herders have been accusing them of taking  their pasture.

Sebastian Maloti said the attackers promised to evict them from if the government and residents do not produce the two Pokot men who were abducted at Ol Moran market on Tuesday last week.

He and his family are sheltering at the Ol Moran Deliverance Church.

Natembeya on Friday denied claims the government was behind the abduction of the two wanted criminals from the Pokot community.

He asked families with missing relatives to report to the police so  the government can help find them.

The abduction of the two wanted men led to the abduction of two businessmen from the Ol Moran area. They were kidnapped at a market in Churo in Baringo.

Unidentified people have been sending messages to the families, demanding release of the wanted men in exchange for the two businessmen.

The recent-flare up has led to the murder of at least two people in Ol Moran area.

A Class 8 pupil suffered gunshot wounds when her Mirango home was attacked and sprayed with bullets on Friday.

Thousands of animals have been stolen.

Local leaders have urged authorities to immediately carry out a law enforcement operation and protect residents from rampant violence.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Miriithi, Laikipia North MP Sarah Lekorere and MCAs George Karuiru  (Ol Moran) and Jacob Edung have accused the government of laxity.

Lekorere accused government security agencies of ignoring intelligence reports of impending reports given to them by residents and leaders.

Ol Moran is one of the seven Laikipia areas and ranches identified by the government last month as dangerous and unsafe.

They include the vast Laikipia Nature Conservancy, which is owned by conservationist Kuki Gullman in Laikipia West; government-owned ranches; ADC Mutara ranch in Laikipia West and the 80,000-acre Kirimon farm in Laikipia North.

Others are Mugie ranch, Loisaba and Kirimon Nature National Reserve, all in Laikipia North. 

Interior PS Kibicho on Friday said the National Security Council, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, would deliberate on the way forward.

“The government will change tack in its approach to insecurity in the county after various interventions it has deployed so far failed to restore peace," Kibicho said.

The PS described the recent killings as the breaking point.

He questioned local leaders' commitment to peace efforts in Laikipia and neighboring counties.

Area leaders have previously frustrated peace efforts, he said. 

Kibicho warned that the government will implement "necessary decisions" reached at Saturday's NSAC meeting, even if they are unpopular with the political class.

(Edited by V. Graham)