Kapedo residents flee homes in security operation fears

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 00:12 |
Security officers patrol the bandit-ridden Kapedo area which has in the past few weeks been scene if tribal clashes. Photo/PD/FILE

Wycliff Kipsang @wsang08

Hundreds of residents in the banditry prone areas of Tiaty sub-county, Baringo County, have fled their homes following the ongoing security operation. 

The government launched the exercise to pursue and flush out armed bandits who have in the recent weeks killed more than 10 people including police officers.

Despite public outcry from local civil society groups and political leaders calling for the exercise to be stopped, the government has stood its ground, saying the operation must continue as it seeks to bring the culprits to book.

Residents yesterday decried rampant cases of human rights violation by the officers, who are looking for illegal firearms in the troubled area.

They claimed the officers were harassing and torching their houses instead of going for the real culprits wreaking havoc in the area.

“Why torch houses and shoot innocent civilians in the name of looking for criminals? It seems this is no longer an operation but an exercise aimed at killing the Pokot economy,” said a resident who sought anonymity. 

Complains come at a backdrop of a public outcry following the killing of six people whose bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped in a thicket in Arabal in Baringo South sub-county two weeks ago. 

 Local civil society groups in yesterday called on the government to allow humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies to the affected families.

 “We fear for outbreak of diseases as the affected families are living in deplorable conditions. Women and children are the worst hit,” said  a representative of civil society groups in Baringo, Philip Tomno.

Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembeya has maintained that the security operation will continue until the situation is put under control.

 The administrator has dismissed calls by area leaders that the operation be stopped and dialogue given a chance.

“We will rest at nothing until we restore normalcy in the area. How can we dialogue with somebody who is armed and can kill police officers and civilians in cold blood?” Posed Natembeya.

According to the administrator, several people suspected to be perpetrating and planning banditry attacks in the region have been arrested and were being questioned.

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