‘Stop or face full force of law’ – IG Koome issues stern warning to North Rift bandits

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 2 Apr, 2024 14:39 | 2 mins read
Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome.
Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome. PHOTO/K24 Digital

The Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome has issued a stern warning to bandits operating in the North Rift region.

The region has been experiencing security challenges, forcing the government to come up with a number of measures to counter the situation.

Last year, in February, the state declared the insecurities that Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia, and Samburu faced as an emergency and were consequently zoned as 'disturbed and dangerous' areas.

"The wanton insecurity as seen in the murder of civilians and security officers, displacement of persons, and paralyzed learning activities in the region prompted the adoption of a multi-agency response involving the National Police Service as the lead agency, the Kenya Defence Forces, the National Government Administration Office, local leaders, members of the public, and other stakeholders," a press statement signed by Koome said.

According to Vigilance House, the multi-agency strategy significantly improved the security situation in the region the whole of last year and allowed the return to normalcy, reopening of schools, resumption of learning, and recovery of firearms and stolen livestock.

However, the police have flagged more areas as ones that require more vigilance by the security forces.

"Amidst the ongoing progress, Isiolo and Meru Counties are currently experiencing a resurgence of cattle rustling and the banditry menace targeting ranches and conservancies. Similarly, Saimo Soi Ward in Baringo County, Kerio Valley Belt, and Morijo in Samburu Central Sub County have witnessed some recent attacks that have led to the partial displacement of the population, the loss of lives and property, and the closure of some learning institutions. 

"The current resurgence of banditry that we are witnessing in Baringo, Isiolo, and Meru counties this year will neither be condoned by the government nor law-abiding citizens of Baringo, Samburu, Meru, Isiolo, and indeed, the entire North Rift Region," the statement added.

Apart from the Chemolingot Multi-Agency Operation Centre in Baringo East, the police have now established a similar command centre for Isiolo, Meru, Laikipia, and Samburu and deployed additional sophisticated equipment.

Police units in the affected areas, including Loruk and Mukogodo, to beef up the ongoing Operation Maliza Uhalifu North Rift have also been formed.

President William Ruto receiving a brief on the security situation in the North Rift in a meeting with Interior and Administration of National Government officials. PHOTO/(@WilliamsRuto)/X
President William Ruto receiving a brief on the security situation in the North Rift in a meeting with Interior and Administration of National Government officials. PHOTO/(@WilliamsRuto)/X

Koome's warning

In his message, Koome warned the bandits to stop, or they would continue to face the wrath of the security apparatus.

"Let me be clear: whether the resurgence of these attacks is attributed to retaliations among members of communities or collaboration among communities to attack members of other communities, or be they targeted attacks on security personnel and installations, expansionist tendencies, or the commercialization of banditry as the case has been, my message to the bandits is one: stop or face the full force of the law.

"I want to thank the media and members of the public for their continued support and cooperation with our officers in the fight against banditry," Koome added in the statement.

While commending the officers for their job, Koome urged them to continue discharging their constitutional mandate without political affiliation, fear, intimidation, or favour.

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