Uhuru warns Laikipia bandits to give in or face ‘serious action’

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday warned of “serious action” against bandits roaming the North Rift – telling them “you better surrender.”

He spoke during the burial of former Senator Kariuki in Lumuruti, Laikipia county. GG breathed his last on June 30, aged 79.

Uhuru said lawlessness must end immediately.

“You better stop. If not, you will have yourselves to blame. Very soon you will regret it,” he warned, two days after heavily armed bandits shot dead six police officers and injured others in the county.

Uhuru told elected leaders from the banditry stricken counties of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu and Laikipia to preach peace.

Admitting that there could be underlying issues behind the runaway banditry, he, however, said dialogue, and not attacks, will solve the problems.

“We want peace. We will have peace as Kenyans,” Uhuru declared.

“We are not saying we have no problems. Problems will not be solved by killing or fighting one another, but through dialogue.”

In April, police in Laikipia recovered the burnt and mutilated bodies of two officers taken hostage by militias during raids.

Police and residents said the bodies of the two, including a GSU officer, were found at Kamwenje in Baringo. They were at the home of a man named Mari Kayen. The officers’ guns were stolen and they were stripped of their uniforms.

The attacks have not spared wildlife either. In February, six elephants and three giraffes were killed in the conflict between semi-nomadic pastoralists and ranch owners in Laikipia county.

Busy burial schedule

The President kicked off a busy burial schedule following the death of influential figures, among them former Interior CS Joseph Nkaissey, former minister Nicholas Biwott and former TJRC boss Bethuel Kiplagat.

Biwott’s and Kiplagat’s have yet to be scheduled.

Uhuru will attend Nkaissery’s burial in Bisil, Kajiado county, on Saturday.

Leaders present at GG’s burial eulogised him as a dedicated and selfless politician.

Deputy President William Rutocalled for peaceful polls.

“GG was a tremendous and extraordinary Kenyan. When the history of Kenya is written and has no paragraph about GG or when history of Laikipia is written and has no chapter or two [about him], then that history is incomplete,” Ruto said.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi urged the people of Laikipia to promote peace in honour of GG, whom they separately described as peace-loving.

“The greatest tribute we can pay to Senator Number One is to conduct a peaceful election. In Laikipia, we need peace and peace must prevail,” Ethuro said.

Former President Mwai Kibaki said GG had the ability to reinvent himself every election cycle.

“He had the resolve to surmount challenges of life,” he said in a statement read by his nephew Nderitu Mureithi.

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