Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has warned political leaders against inciting locals Baringo County residents in the wake of an ongoing operation to bring in cattle rustlers and illegal guns within the region.
Mr. Natembeya revealed the operation is well organized and it aims at ending the insecurity within the region.
While speaking in his Kitale home, Natembeya singled out statements made by Tiaty MP William Kamket who called out on the community to defend themselves if the security continues with their operation.
“This operation is a result of a series of meetings and recommendations we made with leaders in the region to ensure we end perennial insecurity that has affected residents of that area,” said Mr. Natembeya.
The regional commissioner’s warning came at the time when tensions run high in the insecurity prone areas in Tiaty after police officers allegedly burnt down houses within the area.
Natembeya singled out Silale in Tiaty Constituency as the bedrock of criminals terrorizing residents
According to the police boss, the security personnel will not sit back until all criminals are brought to book.
“How can a leader dare the authority that the community will exercise self-defense?” Natembeya questioned. “These statements must be stopped.”
Natembeay told reporters two officers were injured while they were on operation in Silale and are currently undergoing treatment.
Over 150 security officers are deployed in the area and tasked with seizing illegal guns in the hands of civilians.
According to residents, the officers have burnt more than 20 shops at Riong’o shopping center. Anthony Kibet, an area resident says that some locals who were residing in the area were nearly burnt in the incident.
The incident has resulted in countless losses to the residents while others have been rendered homeless since they couldn’t rescue anything from their premises.
Tiaty Sub-County Elders has asked the security officers to stop harassing and shooting mat innocent civilians but carry out the operation to fetch out illegal guns in a more engaging manner.
According to the elders, the security personnel was using unorthodox means in the operations instead of seizing the guns from names criminals.
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Baringo County Police Commander Robinson Ndiwa has disputed the claims about police brutality during the operation
“In a stretch of 25kms between Naudo and Silale, the officers on patrol were ambushed more than five times by armed civilians. In the event, the boy, who was also among the attackers, was caught in the crossfire. As we speak, two of our officers who were also shot have been taken to a Nakuru hospital for treatment,” said Mr. Ndiwa.
“Our officers were returning fire after they were ambushed. The armed locals provoked the police and it was not justifiable to use illegal guns in attacking our officers. They will feel the heat until they surrender the arms,” he added.
According to Mr. Ndiwa, the operations are not targeting a particular community but specific people who have been identified by intelligence.
“We are not undertaking the operation to humiliate innocent people. This is a structured operation that is intelligence-led and we already have the names of the suspected armed criminals wreaking havoc in this region. We already have four in our custody and we are still going to specific homes to pick more culprits,” said Mr. Ndiwa.
The sub-county police said the operation mainly focus on recovering illegal firearms, stolen livestock and to bring to books the bandits.