• The struggle over resources, including pasture for livestock and the animals themselves, has been at the core of ethnic conflict
• Banditry has been exacerbated by cultural beliefs, a lack of or no education, and the widespread availability of modern weaponry, which has replaced bows, arrows, and spears.
The thickets and never-ending valleys of Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, and Laikipia may have been the target of the nation's best heavy weapons. In quest of bandits, the men in boots are currently searching the dusty thickets.
Yet, there are a variety of measures that can be useful before the dust from the altercation settles and the gun muzzles have cooled down. The government can reduce operating expenses.
The struggle over resources, including pasture for livestock and the animals themselves, has been at the core of ethnic conflict and "archaic" lethal livestock theft in the inhospitable region for decades.
Banditry has been exacerbated by cultural beliefs, a lack of or no education, and the widespread availability of modern weaponry, which has replaced bows, arrows, and spears.
Previous government efforts to disarm hostile peoples have frequently failed due to politics.
An ongoing exercise to introduce the military into the caves to flush out the bandits should not be mixed with politics. It is humanely a mockery to innocent children who are orphans, mothers widowed and men drowning in loneliness after attacks in the name of old-age feeling of entitlement.
The increasing number of fatalities — one of the latest being three people killed in Laisamis — coming against the backdrop of a military exercise demonstrates the bandits' dare-devil attitude.
Prior to independence, these battles were frequently considered as a means of wealth redistribution and balancing, according to Ryan Triche, a researcher at the School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
The scale of the violence has purportedly increased due to an influx of guns from nearby Ethiopia, Somalia, and Uganda.
Attacks by bandits in remote locations, which at first went unnoticed, and concerns that the suspected bandits would relocate to neighboring nations could hamper the mission.
The remoteness of the places suggests that most weapons might be obtained through barter, frequently in exchange for animals.
Mr Triche claimed that in the past, when the Turkana and the Pokot ran out of livestock, they would raid each other. In modern times, the demand for arms is likely to be fueling the raids as each seeks the currency to buy more and better guns.
According to a 2006 Kenya Human Rights Commission publication, the guns are believed to be reaching deep into the rustling-prone areas via criminal gangs, further fueling the violence.
The prolonged drought, whose piercing effects are mostly felt in areas that do not normally receive rain when the rest of the country does, and the semi-arid conditions in the region perpetually lead to scarcity of pasture and water, the two primary factors guaranteeing food for livestock.
So then a sense of entitlement, in which each believes they have a right to the resources that the other enjoys, fuels the conflict, particularly over water and pasture. As a result, most attacks occur at borders, which are traditionally and administratively marked by rivers that provide water and pasture.
Kapedo, for example, has previously been the target of bandit attacks. It is a source of water and pasture for nomads from Turkana, West Pokot, and Samburu counties.
But then again, pastoralists are nomadic by nature. They migrate from point to point with their prized herds in search of water and pasture at certain times of the year. Disputes over pasture and water, lying around rivers that are ostensibly border points, spark attacks during their migration as each seeks to move an inch into the greener fields.
As a result of a lack of education and traditional beliefs about men being guardians of family wealth, young boys are forced into a world of "obedience" to traditional beliefs.
In a nutshell, these are remote areas. The government must establish schools to change the mindset of these children who have been banished to a world of illiteracy, as well as the general belief that the larger the herd, the wealthier the family. Roads should be built to connect and open the areas to a modern world.
Copperfield Lagat is a journalist and communication officer at the county government of Uasin Gishu