Turkana Governor Josphat Koli Nanok has blamed the recent banditry attacks for political reasons, accusing politicians of fueling the attacks to gain political mileage.
This comes after recent attacks that the governor says have led to the injury of eight and theft of 238 heads of livestock since May 4, 2022.
The attacks include the shooting of PSV vehicles along the Lodwar-Kitale highway and raids on Kainuk, Loyapat and Lowoi akwara in Nakwamoru.
"I believe that it is not a coincidence that the frequency of the attacks appears to increase as we approach the general elections.
"Insecurity has been used to suppress the participation of the electorate in elections and as a campaign tool for politicians to mobilise for support by inciting emotions of residents," Nanok said in a statement.
Nanok has also accused the Ministry of Interior and Coordination through the national government administration officers of laxity in protecting the residents.
"Whilst I note that there have been highway security patrols to keep transport open, there could be a lack of commitment on the duty bearers because these attacks continue to take place despite the presence of highly specialised police units in the area.
They include the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) and Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) in Lobokat Ward, General Service Unit in Nakwamoru and Turkwel Gorge in Kaputir Ward," Nanok added.
"Security and Intelligence Committees at all levels must fix laxity in response to attacks, pursuit of bandits and recovery of livestock.
"There is demonstratable commitment of the Turkana kraal leaders along Turkwel belt on tracking and ensuring return of Pokot livestock in past incidences.
"However, this has not been the case on the West Pokot side. Aggressive deterrence must be employed by security units as opposed to waiting to respond when incidents occur."
Nanok has called on the security agencies to make sure that those involved in the vice are brought to book, from the politicians to the bandits.
"To end this vicious cycle of violence, those responsible for the attacks must be brought to book to face the consequences of their crimes. From the financiers, planners, and politicians inciting attacks to the hardcore bandits who have made a career from terrorism.
"When these criminals go scot-free one attack after another, impunity takes root while our people continue to suffer due to loss of livelihoods and live in fear of attacks," he said.
In February this year, the County Government of Turkana was forced to establish 29 resettlement sites in strategic areas for victims of bandit attacks along the boundary with West Pokot. This is after residents fled their homes for fear of the attacks.
As of February, at least 350 families had been affected by bandit attacks, according to the head of disaster management at the Kenya Red Cross, Michael Aiyabei.