State Nulls using military Forces to combat Banditry

The government is mulling deploying the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to quell banditry in the Rift Valley, Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kithure Kindiki has announced.

Prof. Kindiki, who also ordered the immediate recruitment of 450 National Police Reservists (NPRS) to tackle the vice in Elgeyo Marakwet, said that, in the meantime, his ministry will use all human and financial resources at its disposal to curb lawlessness in the region that boasts of nearly two-thirds of the country’s land mass.

“We cannot afford to have a country where citizens live in constant fear and we will not spare any effort even if it means using KDF,” Prof. Kindiki said.

Photo| Interior CS Prof. Kithure Kindiki

The CS was speaking in Chesongoch, Marakwet East, after holding a security meeting before addressing locals following the new year killing of two young girls by bandits.

According to the constitution, the Kenya Defence Forces are deployed only as a last resort to restore peace, but with the approval of the National Assembly.

“The Defence Forces may be deployed to restore peace in any part of Kenya affected by unrest or instability only with the approval of the National Assembly,” article 241 (3) (c) of the constitution states.

While criticising the former regime for disbanding the NPRS who had been recruited in 14 counties that were having security challenges, Prof. Kindiki regretted the decision to withdraw NPRS saying, “It was unfortunate and unwarranted because it had helped in restoring order in the disturbed regions. we will restore the police reservists and give chiefs firearms and police officers.”

The CS who came face to face with the desperation of victims of banditry attacks in Kerio Valley, said the blood of the two girls should be the last to be shed in the region and accused activists of bashing Police for extra-judicial killings.

“Law enforcers should use the firearms they have at their disposal to guard themselves and those they protect. We will not listen to busy bodies lecturing us but ensure the country is safe,” he said.

“Guns in Police hands should be used for the purposes they are intended for and, as the government, we are ready to defend them from the accusations for performing their duties.” He further said the government will be extremely ruthless and brutal in dealing with criminals.

“We will not target a community, religion or gender but go after the criminals in Kerio Valley, the bandits wanted to test our might and we have heard them and we are coming for them.” Prof. Kindiki – CS Interior

His Transport and Infrastructure counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen said that, even when he was still a Senator, the killings were unrelenting.“The challenges of Kerio Valley are brought about by hardened criminals who have known guns for all their lifetimes. As a government we must get rid of them by all means and it will be ruthless,” he said, adding that his ministry will complement efforts to restore order by building roads across the region.

Locals and area leaders accused Police of being slow in responding to attacks, which has motivated the bandits to mount daring regular raids. Endo Mission Parish Head Father Dominic Kibet said it was time the government changed tack in dealing with the insecurity menace.“Kerio Valley has been turned into a cemetery because of bandits. Criminals are few and known, the government should conduct effective disarmament in the region,” he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich said locals are desperate for a lasting solution and will support efforts to address the menace. Marakwet East member of parliament Kangogo Bowen said all 12 police stations and general service unit platoons stationed along the valley should be relocated to the borders of Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties to act as buffer zones and deter criminals from crossing to either side.


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