ELGEYO MARAKWET, Kenya, Feb 27 – The Kerio Valley belt that covers parts of Baringo North, Marakwet and Pokot will be gazetted as “a dangerous area” to pave way for a security operation to eliminate cattle rustling.
Deputy President William Ruto says the operation will begin immediately under one command.
“Those who have crossed over to neighbouring counties or sub-counties and displaced its owners will be driven back to their homes,” warned Ruto.
He added: “We will not allow people to raid others homes and occupy them in the pretext of searching for pasture.”
Ruto also said the government would protect police officers discharging their duties in accordance with the law against external interference.
“I want to assure our security officers that the government will solidly stand behind them in protecting the lives and property of Kenyans.”
He said more security camps would be established in Kapkobil, Kabetwa, Murkutwo and Kaben among other areas that had witnessed cattle rustling.
The DP at the same time asked leaders to stop politicising issues of security along the Kerio Valley.
Ruto said leaders should work together in confronting insecurity occasioned by banditry and cattle rustling instead of introducing politics.
Addressing the public on Monday at Chesongoch Catholic Church grounds in Elgeyo Marakwet County after inaugurating the first group of 200 newly recruited police reservists, Ruto asked politicians to stop taking the plight of those suffering in an attempt to score cheap political goals.
He said politicising security issues could affect restoration of peace among communities in the region.
“Leaders should take a stand that will help bring peace in this region instead of introducing cheap politics into such issues,” said Ruto.
“We should be part of the solution to the insecurity problem in this area and not part of the problem,” added Ruto.
He was accompanied by lawmakers Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), William Kisang (Marakwet West), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Dr Susan Chebet (Women Rep), Governors Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Inspector of Police Joseph Boinnet and former MP Linah Kilimo.
Ruto said Sh100 million would be set aside to compensate those who lost livestock in the region during the recent cattle rustling incidents
Ruto who also addressed another security meeting in Arabal in Baringo South Constituency said any criminal who has weapons, steals cattle and kills innocent women and children must face the full force of the law.
“With the ongoing recruitment of more police reservists, it is now clear that we have stepped up efforts aimed at curbing crime and ending the practice of cattle rustling which has no room in this 21st Century,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President asked the public in the region to join the government in the community-policing programme.
He said while the government was beefing up security, the public had a duty to report criminals in their midst to the authorities.
“Those who have made cattle rustling as their source of income should find something else to do, as those caught risked long jail terms. We have already arrested 25 cattle rustlers and their cases are on,” said Ruto.
He said Sh5million will be allocated to secondary school as fees for pupils whose parents lost their livestock to cattle rustlers.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said he was optimistic that the newly recruited police reservists will help complement the work of other security officers in the region.
“I am confident that these police reservists will help other security personnel in confronting the challenge of cattle rustling as they well understand the area,” said Boinnet.