An Assistant Minister has accused the General Service Unit (GSU) personnel of harassing Pokot herders in the guise of pursuing cattle rustlers.
Home Affairs assistant minister Samuel Moroto claimed yesterday that GSU personnel at Chepchoina camp in West Pokot district are targeting innocent Pokot herdsmen and allowing cattle rustlers to escape, thereby creating tension in the area. The government has ordered disarmament of pastoralists in the district.
Speaking to reporters at Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret, the Kapenguria MP claimed the GSU rounded up cattle from his Pokot people at Kanyarwat in West Pokot alleging they had been stolen from Trans Nzoia district.
“The security personnel, instead of tracking down cattle rustlers who stole animals in the neighbouring district are taking away animals from innocent residents,” he said and called for the punishment of officers if they do not return the confiscated animals.
The MP asked Internal Security Minister John Michuki to discipline or transfer officers accused of brutalising innocent people.
“Michuki should reshuffle these people. It seems they do not know why they are in the area. Instead of restoring law and order they are fuelling animosity by mistreating the local people,” he stressed.
He said he had received many complaints of torture from his constituents on the conduct of the security men and asked the officers to leave the area.
Moroto claimed tension has risen in the district as a result of the GSU’s presence, confiscation of cattle and treatment of his people.
Meanwhile the Rift Valley Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Solomon Ouko yesterday said security committees in the North Rift region will be strengthened to curb insecurity in the area.
Ouko said MPs from the region, non governmental organizations (NGOs) officials and elders will be co-opted into the committees to tackle insecurity induced by cattle rustling.
Speaking during the official closure of a meeting attended by all District Commissioners from the area, Ouko said security will be beefed up along the borders with Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan to curb the influx of illegal firearms into Kenya.
“We cannot keep on talking on how to solve the problem of insecurity without addressing the issue of proliferation of illegal fire arms from the neighbouring countries facing internal wars,” he noted.