, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 28 – Deputy President William Ruto has put cattle rustlers and bandits on notice saying the Government has stepped up efforts aimed at curbing insecurity in North Rift region.
Speaking during a meeting with Pokot leaders over insecurity problems along their border with Turkana County, Ruto stated that security agencies had been mobilized to ensure that incidents of cattle theft that have resulted into loss of lives in the past do not recur.
Ruto warned that those inciting the communities into skirmishes would face the full force of the law.
“Those who have made cattle rustling as their source of income should find something else to do, as those caught risked long jail terms,” he warned.
The Deputy President further urged local residents to join the Government addressing insecurity under the ‘Nyumba Kumi’ community policing programme.
He asked Pokot and Turkana communities to discard outdated cultural practices and engage in farming among other income generating activities.
‘These two counties are blessed with rich agricultural soils suitable for farming activities. It is time we discard reliance on livestock alone and invest in agricultural activities,’ said Ruto.
The meeting which took place at the Kapenguria Lutheran Church Hall was attended by religious leaders, the provincial administration and political leaders.
The leaders led by Speaker of the Senate Ekwe Ethuro and West Pokot County Senator John Lonyangapuo resolved to forge a common agenda in the fight against insecurity occasioned by banditry and cattle rustling activities which they said has retarded the development of the area.
According to the Kenya Red Cross the latest round of violence started November 18 following a dispute over the land where Lorokon village in Turkana South District is located, with each community claiming that it falls under their respective county.
Youths from the Pokot community also barricaded the Kitale-Lodwar Road, cutting off the only route for motorists commuting between Turkana and other parts of Kenya.
As of December 3, at least 20 people from the two communities have been killed in revenge attacks, Kenya Red Cross said. .
Police had arrested 20 suspects in connection with carrying out and planning attacks.