Leaders and residents from Pokot Community have urged the government to halt the ongoing security operation in Kapedo area along the Baringo and Turkana border Counties and give dialogue a chance.
The leaders hit out at their Turkana Counterparts over incitement and pretence that they are under siege.Led by West Pokot County governor Prof. John Lonyangapuo, the leaders urged the government to conduct peace meetings and negotiate with locals instead of using force.
“The Pokots and Turkana’s share same problems and there is reason to engage in conflicts,” he said.
The leaders who condemned the killing of a senior GSU officer last Sunday in Kapedo said as leaders they will consult with the security team to ensure proper strategies are proposed and implemented to curb insecurity.Speaking in Makutano township while welcoming back home Governor Lonyangapuo after coming from leave, the leaders said that the government should embrace dialogue to end banditry in the area.
Pokot South member of parliament David Pkosing faulted leaders inciting residents in the area hence called on the Government to conduct the operation in a humane way . “You cannot bring peace in such a manner .Pokots are Kenyans and don’t deserve such humiliation .They should treat them as Kenyans because all Kenyans are equal.” he said. He called upon the government to target criminals and not punish the whole community.
“A thief is thief and should be treated as an individual.We don’t want blanket condemnation .The culprits should carry their own cross .We want the Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai and Rift valley regional Coordinator George Natembeya to work with area leaders ,”he said. He called on the government to establish the root cause of killings in the area .
Kacheliba member of parliament Mark Lomunokol called on the National Government to embrace dialogue and work with local leaders in Baringo County especially Tiaty sub County while conducting the operation. “They should not use excessive force but engage in dialogue with pastors ,reformed warriors ,youths, village elders and Nyumba Kumi for residents to surrender illegal firearm they posses ,”he said.
Other leaders and residents who protested in Makutano town while carrying placards accused the government over a brutal operation in Kapedo. Nominated member of county Assembly Mr. Elijah Kasheusheu noted that culprits from both communities should be brought to book and leave residents alone. “We want the internal security CS Dr. Fred Matiang’i to visit the area,” he said. He noted that the operation was leading to tension in the area . “We love peace but our brothers want to do politics for political gain, “said Kasheusheu. He cited that the operation should be conducted on both sides. “Many operations have been done in the area without a solution being found. Mothers and children do suffer innocently,” added.
A resident Moses Cheparer aka Muyahudi called on the arrest of the three members of parliament for incitement saying that the problem is political .‘They should be taken to court. Governors should not use resources for peace buildings in hotels, ”he said. He called on the Government to address the boundary issue that was fueling conflict among neighboring communities. “All Lokori-Lomeri –Kapedo areas are in Pokot .The Regional coordinator should look at the map, ”he said. He claimed that The Government has been used to cause conflict in the region.
Paul Kamama, also a resident said that they are not happy with the operation and the Government should establish who did the killing. “The Turkana Mps came out early complaining. We have no problem with our Turkana brothers because we stay together in Aramaget ,Kacheliba and Chepchoina ,”he said.