Professionals from Elgeyo Marakwet County have criticized the security operation planned by the government in the region. The operation is aimed at containing banditry attacks that have seen several lives lost and cattle stolen by bandits.
This follows a recent attack that saw assailants attack a school bus belonging to Tot Secondary school leaving the bus driver dead and several students were injured along the Arror Mongil road.
The professionals who spoke in Kitale said the operation will only see innocent residents harmed in the process. They called on the government to instead tackle the real challenges that lead to the fighting.
“We want the new regional commissioner to work hand in hand with leaders in the region to find a lasting solution to the banditry attacks without imposing a security operation since real bandits will escape,” one of the professionals, Samwel Biwot, said.
They also called on the government to intensify community policing to ensure all indicators of banditry attacks are dealt with in time to avoid such occurrences that are becoming a risk to the lives of residents in the region.
“The attacks have shifted from cattle rustling to attacks on school buses where innocent students are targeted. We call on the Pokot and Marakwet communities to co-exist in peace,” Jeremiah Kanda said.
They said that the government should improve the infrastructure of the region to give room for development with a key call on boosting of the road network to make it easy for police to carry out operations in the region.
“We want our people to have a shift from cattle rustling through the initiation of development projects that will create employment opportunities to diversify sources of revenue that will end over-reliance on cattle,” he added.
They called on leaders from the counties of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot to play a key role in preaching peace among the communities instead of fanning hate through alarming messages of incitement.
“Lack of peace is hampering economic development along the Kerio valley. It is very critical that leaders come up with a mechanism that will see both the communities bury a hatchet for the sake of peace,” Yusuf Chepkole said.