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Crackdown begins at Kabolet forest

KITALE, November 24 – The government has launched a major security operation in Cherangany’s Kabolet forest where scores of people have been killed following persistent attacks by cattle raiders.

A combined team of security personnel from the General Service Unit, Anti-stock theft, Administration Police and regular police arrived in the area over the weekend and immediately ringed the forest as the operation got underway.

Trans-Nzoia East District Commissioner (DC) Naftali Mungethia said the operation would ensure law and order is restored.

“Our security personnel have surrounded the entire forest and we are going to make sure that people who have been causing trouble are apprehended,” the DC emphasised.

He added that a search for illegal firearms in the area had started and asked members of the public to give any information that might lead to the arrest of the culprits.

“The security personnel have also imposed a curfew that begins at 7pm to enable the officers conduct the operation,” Mr Mungethia said.

Kabolet forest which measures over 6,000 acres stretches to Marakwet, Trans-Nzoia East and West Pokot districts.

The forest has been used as a major hideout by the raiders from where they strike Cherangany constituency. So far about 3,000 animals have been stolen in the area and 25 people killed in the last one year alone.

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Reports say that over 400 security personnel have also been dispatched to the neighbouring Marakwet and West Pokot districts to bolster security.

“The two districts have been used as exit routes by raiders whenever they strike villages in Cherangany constituency,” Mr Mungethia said.

Capital News reliably established that the security operation was being coordinated by two senior police officials Henry Ndolo and Anthony Kamitu.

Some of the officers in the exercise are those who participated in the recent military operation in Mt Elgon district.

According to sources familiar with the operation, at least 25 people have already been arrested and are being held at the Kitale police station.

Some were detained around Kabolet forest and are helping police with information that will assist in tracking down people who have been carrying out attacks in the area.

Several leaders including local Member of Parliament Mr Joshua Kutuny have supported the operation saying that the residents have been living in fear.

“The officers should ensure that people who have been harassing my constituents are dealt with once and for all,” Mr Kutuny said after touring the affected area.

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