Two Assistant Ministers and a Member of Parliament issued a one week ultimatum to the Government to discontinue the ongoing security operations to mop up illegal firearms among the pastoral communities in the North Rift region.
Ekwe Ethuro (Assistant Minister of Planning) and Samuel Moroto (Home Affairs) and Samburu West MP Simeon Lesirma charged yesterday that the exercise had proved punitive to their communities.
Talking to the press in Eldoret, the three MPs said over 30,000 herders had abandoned their homes and fled to Uganda for fear of being subjected to harsh treatment by the security forces carrying out the disarmament exercise.
“The operation by the security forces had lost its meaning. It has instead promoted under-development in the districts where it is being carried out such as Turkana, Pokot and Samburu,” said Moroto.
On his part, Lesirma said since the disarmament exercise began in March, five schools have closed in his constituency as children fled with their parents to Uganda as security forces use crude methods in search of illegal firearms and intimidate innocent people.
Moroto told Internal Security Minister, John Michuki that the disarmament exercise had outlived its objective and wants it to be put off.
Lesirma said development projects that were supposed to be initiated by the military personnel alongside the security operations had not been put in place and had made a mockery of the operations.
Ethuro asked: “Why are the Kenyan pastoralists living along the international borders being disarmed yet communities in the neighbouring countries are not? He said pastoral communities in the neighbouring countries had breached territorial integrity by crossing into the country to engage in cattle rustling activities.
- Meanwhile, the Kenyan Government has handed over the 100 herds of cattle stolen from Uganda.The gesture came after a thorough search by security personnel in West Pokot and Trans-Nzoia districts. A combination of military officers, provincial administration and regular police were involved in the search.
West Pokot District Commisioner Stephen Ikua said the animals had been handed over to their Uganda counterparts in an effort to streamline the relations between the communities living along the borders. The animals were reportedly stolen by raiders believed to be from Wet Pokot District.
A Catholic Justice and Peace Commision-Kapenguria Chapter official praised the Government for the move adding that the return of the animals was a very big initiative by the Kenyan authorities in bringing peace.