West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet leaders and residents have called for an operation in Embout forest to flush out criminals who are causing havoc in the area. The leaders and residents said that criminals destabilizing peace along the border are staying in the forest.
This comes after one person was killed on Sunday morning at Kamligon and another one seriously injured after armed cattle rustlers attacked the village.
Led by West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo they said it was wrong for civilians to arm themselves against fellow civilians.
He blamed police officers operating in the region for failing to protect residents since they don’t answer distress calls when the need arises. “The Anti Stock theft camp should be set up in the region. The government should relocate the camp from secure regions to this place,” he said.
Speaking during a peace meeting at Kamelei, the Governor blamed the government for directing more effort towards Mau eviction while people who need security have been neglected.
Governor Lonyangapuo also blamed the government for failing to plant trees in the forest after evicting people. “The government acts fast when it comes to evicting people but it doesn’t have a planting trees program. This will encourage evicted people to settle back,” he said.
He said along the border the government evicted people and forest department had not planted trees, leading to conflict along the border.
Kapyegon MCA Limo Biwot threatened to sue the government for failing to take care of the forest and allowing criminals to inhabit it, “As communities living in this region we’re going to sue the government for failing to protect us. We won’t allow the further loss of lives,” said Biwot.
However, Marakwet East deputy commissioner Stephen Sangolo said that the government was going to conduct an operation in the forest to help recover stolen animals. “We know where the animals are and we’re going to conduct an operation in the forest to flush out the criminals,” he said.
He said the government will not allow blanket condemnation of the communities but they will pursue criminals and arrest them so that they can be prosecuted.
Tension is still high and many schools had been closed, and residents had migrated from their homes to safer places.
Earlier this year, over 250 houses were torched at Kamelei and Kapushen village forcing over 2000 people to migrate to safe places. Residents had settled back and now they have been forced to abandoned their homes after Sunday’s incident.