, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The government has downplayed the insecurity situation between West Pokot and Turkana Counties over Lorogon Village saying there was no siege and that things were ‘not as bad’.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told journalists on Monday that facts surrounding the issue had been exaggerated by various reports but that the situation has so far been contained.
He explained that the two Counties were fighting over a border and that security agents did not want to use excessive force while bringing normalcy to the area.
“We are aware that there were messages indicating that there were some people under siege and I want to say clearly that it was not as bad,” he argued.
“And definitely because of the armed individuals in that area they escalated the situation to a level of insecurity.”
He at the same time said that the government had boosted security to the region and would continue monitoring the situation as local leaders intervened to restore peace.
“The leadership of the affected area is also on the ground and we want to assure Kenyans that the area has been secured. It took a little longer because we felt that if we used force to deal with the culprits we could have killed some civilians in the process which we did not want to do,” he explained.
The Kenya Red Cross Society had through a statement made on Sunday said that the crisis started last Monday when two Pokot men were allegedly killed by Turkanas.
The non governmental organisation also noted that reports had alleged that the Pokot regrouped and came with over 150 armed men and laid siege to the village.
“There are unconfirmed reports that the seven police officers guarding this village were outnumbered and escaped the siege. We also understand that an estimated 600 to 900 residents of the villages are surrounded by Pokot armed men who are said to be numbering over 150,” read the Red Cross statement.
The society further urged the government to come up with a permanent solution to the crisis noting that tension between the two communities has always been high.
The rivalry between the Pokot and the Turkana has historically been based on land, pasture and water. There have also been reports that local politicians have been inciting the residents.
The Kenya Red Cross maintained that there had been similar incidents in Turkana, East Pokot, West Pokot, Tana River County, Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo, and Moyale in the recent past.
“Until these issues are addressed by the leaders of these two communities, the central government and the county governments of Turkana and Pokot, this issue will not go away. Even if the current stalemate is resolved, we are almost certain that this will reoccur,” stated Red Cross.