The National Police Service reports that 82 security personnel lost their lives at the hands of bandits between 2012 and 2022

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For years, bandits have wreaked havoc in the North Rift region of Kenya. Every government has attempted to eradicate them once and for all, deploying the military to this region repeatedly, but without success. However, the current UDA government is making efforts to tackle the issue.

Cabinet Secretary of Security, Kithure Kindiki, has been visiting the North Rift counties without any tangible action being taken. Despite tough warnings from Kindiki, such as during the Kapedo attack on October 30, 2014, where bandits ambushed and killed 24 Administration Police Officers and two General Service Unit (GSU) Officers, little progress has been made.

The National Police Service reports that 82 security personnel lost their lives at the hands of bandits between 2012 and 2022. In 2022, banditry led to the closure of 50 schools in the Kerio Valley, according to the Kenya National Union of Teachers.

In 2015, bandits had their most ambitious and devastating harvest yet. The year began with the killing of 64 people on February 4, when bandits raided Nadome Village along the East Pokot-Turkana border, turning the area into a scene of death and destruction.

In Samburu, Baringo, Elgeiyo Marakwet, and West Pokot Counties, bandits continue to raid with impunity, leaving behind a trail of destruction and loss of life. Former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya, who is now the governor of Trans Nzoia County, shared his experience, highlighting the challenges faced by police officers dealing with bandits and cattle rustlers.

In 2006, Dr. Boni Khalwale proposed a bill in parliament to classify cattle rustling as a capital offense, facing opposition from some Rift Valley MPs. MPs should reconsider this bill to combat the havoc caused by rustlers and bandits.

In 2024 alone, at least 74 people have been killed in separate bandit attacks in the North Rift area, with over 2,500 people displaced. Deputy President Ruto convened a meeting with top security officials to address the escalating security challenges in the region.

The meeting, attended by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure, Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, and other security heads, aimed to address the recent spate of banditry attacks and enhance security measures in affected areas.

Meanwhile, in Elgeyo Marakwet, security teams convened to address the ongoing banditry attacks and raids that have plagued the region. The meeting emphasized the urgent need for action to restore lasting peace, with the implementation of relocation of police posts to enhance security measures.

As the government continues to grapple with banditry and cattle rustling, questions remain about whether they will succeed where previous governments have failed.

Report by Jesse Abisheck


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