, LAIKIPIA, Kenya, Dec 21 – Elders from pastoral communities living in Laikipia region have agreed to surrender all illegally owned firearms before the end of the amnesty period given by the government.
The elders from the Pokot, Samburu and Turkana communities vowed to mobilize their people to surrender arms to the government in two weeks time in a bid to bring to an end their perenial conflicts over pastures and cattle rustling.
In a meeting convened by Laikipia professionals at Lolora on Sunday, the elders said that the move was aimed at restoring peace in the region.
Laikipia West MP Nderitu Muriithi and nominated MP Maison Leshomo who chaired the meeting said that the move was a result of numerous peace meetings between the professionals and the elders in the area.
“It is one of the most successful decisions to see to it that peace is restored in the area. The elders have all agreed to surrender the firearms to the government and engage in development activities,” Mr Nderitu said.
The move comes amidst the ongoing disarmament exercise in the region where police have recovered some 35 firearms. Among them eleven which the Samburu pastoral communities surrendered to the government last Friday.
It also comes barely a week after a confrontation between the Pokot and Samburu communities over pasture at Lolora area which left three people dead.
Mr Nderitu however assured that the government was determined to make sure that peace is restored in the region.
He noted that the professional under the umbrella body of Laikipia Peace Caravan had played a major role in encouraging the residents to surrender firearms.
“We have been moving round the region educating residents on dangers of owning these firearms. We have encouraged them to shun cases of cattle rustling and instead engage in development activities,” he added.
On her part, Ms Maison regretted that the region had lagged behind in terms of development growth due to the numerous cases of cattle rustling and banditry attacks.
“We want to end the vice once and for all and that is why we have taken the advantage of professionals from all the tribes in the area to educate their parents and siblings. The peace mission is set to extend to Samburu and Isiolo where crime is on the rise,” she said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdallah Shariff who is leading the disarmament exercise said that security officer had been deployed in all areas to minimise cases of cattle rustling.
He welcomed the move by the elders to surrender the firearms saying that this would make the government’s work easier.