West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet County leaders have held a peace meeting at Chemsto area along the border of the two Counties. The peace meeting comes weeks after four people were gunned down from both Counties by suspected bandits. The leaders led by County commissioners from both Counties affirmed that bandits will be shot dead if they continue perpetrating banditry attacks and distabilizing peace accord that was signed between the two communities at Chesogon.
West Pokot County commissioner Apollo Okello while addressing locals said they have managed to recover 5 guns which have been in the hands of bandits for the past three weeks.
“We got two guns when we gunned down one of the suspected bandits on Sunday last week. Three guns were found in the course of the week,” he said.
He said 41 cows were stolen in the past one month and so far 37 cows have been recovered hence asked the peace committees to continue looking for the remaining 4 cows.
Elgeyo Marakwet County commissioner Ahmed Omar insisted that bandits will be nabbed either dead or alive hence called on locals to identify the culprits in the community. He added that peace committees led by elders have been on the forefront in helping pursuing stolen livestock hence commended them for being dedicated in keeping peace. “We have lost lives and livestock in the last one month after fresh attacks from both sides. I want to assure the locals that police officers are on the ground to search for the bandits,” he affirmed.
West Pokot County Governor John Lonyangapuo said the bandits should be arrested and be put behind bars. “We won’t defend any criminals we have lost lives and property because of bandits,” he said.
The County boss urged those still possessing illegal fire arms to surrender and replace them with pens and books. “I introduced adult education and I’m giving out bursaries for each and every learner. Why should someone go to steal? We are are living in a modern community where cattle rustling is outdated,” he said.
On his part, Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos said the two communities have made strides in keeping peace and surrendering of illegal guns shows commitment in keeping peace. “Let the bandits be arrested, we can’t continue losing lives. We have so many problems and the two communities should be uplifted. We should divert from cattle rustling and embrace cash crop farming,” he said.
He added that those who steal livestock are after selling the cows at a cheaper price.