Illegal herders scamper for safety after hearing gun shots from police officers on operation at Laikipia Nature Conservancy on March 28,2017.The herders had taken journalists to the scene where several livestock had been killed by the officers [PHOTO:KIPSANG JOSEPH]
Civilians have been warned against visiting areas the national government has categorised as “disturbed and dangerous” in Baringo and Laikipia counties.
Rift Valley Regional Co-ordinator Wanyama Musiambo said until the operation mounted by security agencies was over, these areas remained no-go zones.
“Just so no one is hurt, we urge residents to avoid areas the Ministry of Interior gazetted as dangerous and that are now manned by security agents,” said Mr Musiambo yesterday.
“Let’s allow security officers deployed in these areas to do their work of disarming criminals and flushing them out,” he said.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery named several areas in Baringo South and Tiaty constituencies as disturbed and dangerous. These include Arabal, Kiserian, Mochongoi, Rugus, Mukutani, Chebinyinyi, Komolion, Chepkalacha, Makutano, Paka, Orus, Loiywat, Silale, Nando, Tangulbei, Chepkererat, Kipnai, Ng’oron and Amaya.
The Aggetts: They call Laikipia their home
This followed increased banditry and cattle theft during which many people, mainly children and women, have been killed and thousands of animals driven away.
In Laikipia, tension has been high following clashes between herders and ranchers over grazing fields. Ranchers are unhappy that herders have been invading their land and other private farms to graze their animals.
The situation threatened to get out of hand when people believed to be herders shot and killed a British rancher.
The Government deployed the police to the two counties to flush out the criminals after they defied an order to surrender illegal firearms.
And when the situation appeared to overwhelm the police, the Government brought in Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers to restore order.
The soldiers have pitched a camp in Loruk and locals have been warned against visiting operation areas to avoid harm.
Musiambo said the Government had provided tractors to plough land in the affected areas because this is planting season. So far, he said, at least 1,525 acres have been ploughed in Baringo South.
“People cannot develop when they are living in camps. We are restoring security to ensure that they return to their homes to continue participating in income-generating activities, including planting,” he said.
He said the Government had also rolled out school feeding programmes in areas affected by banditry to ensure that learning was not disrupted.
Several schools remain closed due to insecurity. Some 170 pupils are enrolled at Eldume Primary School, a few metres from the Eldume camp.