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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

BANDITS KILLS 50 IN TURKANA

More people are feared to have died during two nights of attacks and retaliatory raids between two pastoralist communities in Turkana and Baringo counties.
However, police yesterday said they had not found any bodies, shrouding in mystery earlier reports of an attack that led to 46 fatalities.
“We were at the scene but did not see anything,” said Mr Peter Pamba, the officer leading Administration Police in the operation initiated after reports claimed that 46 people had been killed in a bandit raid. “We will continue with the operation tomorrow,” said Mr Pamba last evening.
Earlier in the day, Tiaty MP Asman Kamama had asked security forces to move into the greater Suguta belt and pacify the region, which he said had been taken over by bandits.
Senior government officers had said that a remote village in Turkana East, identified as Nadome, had been attacked by bandits on Monday.
Yesterday, Mr Kamama, who chairs the National Assembly’s committee on National Security, asked the government to boost security in the volatile region.
Nadome, where 46 people were reported to have died on Monday night, is in the Suguta Valley, on the boundary between Turkana and East Pokot.
In Rift Valley, another government source who refused to be identified claimed that the toll had reached 94, with many still missing.
And in Nairobi, Mr Kamama, whose Tiaty Constituency is one of the areas affected, told reporters that heavily armed warriors from Turkana raided Silda ward in his constituency and killed 14 herders from 10 manyattas before stealing their livestock.
In retaliation, the affected community on the Pokot side launched a counter-attack in which 36 people were killed.
The MP said in neighbouring Loiyangalani district, 13 people were also killed on Monday while six others were killed yesterday in an area near Baragoi, where 40 police officers were massacred by bandits three years ago. No one has been brought to book over the killing of the officers to date.
“The Suguta belt has become the wild West, where banditry has become a way of life. The situation is so bad that the locals believe that it’s impossible to drive bandits away from the area,” said Mr Kamama.
Mr Warfa confirmed 46 deaths on the first day of the fighting, but the death toll is suspected to have risen after retaliatory attacks.
It was difficult for the Nation to establish with certainty what was happening in the volatile area yesterday because the region has a poor mobile phone coverage. Calls to the Nation reporters on the ground were not going through. Neither were those of government officials who had gone to assess the security situation.
“A team of officers has just flown to the area so let us wait for them to give us the final number,” said Mr Warfa when asked exactly how many people had been killed.
A local administrator from the area had earlier told the Daily Nation team that a boundary dispute was the underlying problem behind the attacks.
In Nairobi, Mr Kamama asked the government to come up with a plan to ensure that all roads in the volatile region are reopened and the Rapid Deployment Unit of the Administration Police sent to provide security.
On Monday night, a security source said that the raiders who attacked Nadome were ambushed by police officers from Kapedo but changed course and started driving the stolen livestock in a different direction, towards Silale and Naudo areas in the Suguta Valley.
The harsh terrain and poor communication make it difficult for security teams, including the Kenya Defence Forces based at Kapedo, to pursue raiders.
About 200 people have lost their lives over the past one year in various attacks in the region.