President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses members of the public at Kapedo during his visit on November 2, 2014. PHOTO
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday ordered pastoralists on the border of Turkana and Baringo to name those behind Saturday’s killing of more than 20 police officers “by the end of the day” or face a massive security operation in the area.
Speaking when he led a contingent of top security personnel in touring Kapedo, President Kenyatta also ordered that firearms and uniforms belonging to the slain officers be surrendered.
“I’m here today because you took the lives of over 22 officers who were in the line of duty. I hereby order that you give us the names of those behind the killings by the end of today.
“If you can kill officers in such a manner, you sending a message that there is no government. The government is there and will deal firmly with such lawlessness,” said a visibly irate Mr Kenyatta.
He said that the government was committed to uplifting the lives of Kenyans in marginalised areas and called on the Pokot community to co-exist peacefully with their neighbours for any meaningful development to be achieved.
“The criminals who killed the officers are well-known and we will not rest until they are brought to book. We will not tolerate a civilian taking guns and killing police officers. Even if your leaders are claiming that it was a mistaken identity that does not give you the licence to kill,” said the President.
He warned those dividing Kenyans along ethnic lines that they will dealt with firmly.
“Everybody has right to settle in any part of the country irrespective of their ethnic or political affiliations. Mimi sitambui ukabila, natambua Wakenya (I don’t embrace tribalism, I appreciate all Kenyans). God knows why he put us together,” Mr Kenyatta said at Kapedo.
Earlier, Pokot elders, who were carrying green twigs, had apologised to the President of behalf of the community following the violence.
“Your coming here today is a blessing to us. Just give us two weeks and we will talk to our people we will return the missing guns and uniforms,” said Paul Lotodo, a Pokot elder.
West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo and Kapenguria Member of Parliament Joseph Moroto stressed the need for the government to set up boarding schools in pastoralist areas for herders to embrace education as a lasting solution to the perennial cattle rustling menace.
They said that Pokot leaders will soon roll out a series of peace meetings in a bid to unite the warring communities.
Mr Moroto called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the National Land Commission to address protracted land conflicts which have resulted in perennial clashes among pastoralists citing Turkwel in West Pokot county and Kapedo at the border of Turkana and Baringo counties.
Tiaty MP Asman Kamama condemned the alleged harassment of innocent civilians by security personnel involved in the ongoing operation.
“How can you burn houses and personal property in the name of an operation? This is unacceptable and can lead to anarchy if not checked,” said Mr Kamama.
He demanded that the Independent Police Oversight Authority carries out an assessment at Chesitet, Ameyan and Solar areas to establish the cost of the damage allegedly caused by the officers to pave way for compensation.
Regional Commissioner Hassan Warfa accused leaders in the area of fuelling the conflict by inciting the residents to turn against each other.
“People cannot just wake up wake up one day and start killing police officers and burning vehicles,” said Mr Warfa.
Baringo County Governor Benjamin Cheboi and Senator Gideon Moi called on the government to set up taskforce to look into border feuds which he said were fuelling conflict across the country.
“We welcome the ongoing disarmament exercise in Baringo and Turkana counties but the same should be extended to the neighbouring counties.
“This issue of people killing one another in the name of cattle rustling should come to an end,” said Mr Cheboi.
Mr Moi said that Baringo County is rich in resources citing the huge potential in geothermal energy but warned that this will not be of much help if the insecurity menace is not checked.