The government should designate bandits behind deadly Kapedo and Turkana East attacks as a domestic terrorist group, Turkana leaders have said.
Governor Josphat Nanok today led calls by Turkana Members of Parliament James Lomenen (Turkana South), Ali Lokiru (Turkana East), and John Lodepe (Turkana Central) for the government to deal with the bandits as a terror group.
Speaking at the County Government HQ after receiving the three MPs who were stuck in Kapedo for days after a food distribution drive in the village, the Governor stated that the bandits, who have killed three top police officers in less than two weeks, fit the definition of a terror organization and had to be handled and dismantled as such.
“Security is a responsibility that falls on the doorstep of the National Government and no effort should be spared to deal with these bandits who fit the definition of a terrorist group.
“These characteristics include: being an organized group, have been indoctrinated, are heavily armed and well supplied with weapons, they have no respect for the constitution and their main mission is to kill and cause terror,” Governor Nanok said.
He added that the criminals had turned Tiaty into an epicenter of terrorism and a source of attacks in neighboring areas of Laikipia West, Baringo South, Baringo North, Marakwet East, Turkana South, and Turkana East.
The Governor asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to order for a security operation to deal with the bandits in the same way rebel militia Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) was crushed in Mt. Elgon.
Governor Nanok stated that peace efforts championed by the Turkana leadership and County Government will not resume until the security problem is addressed. He likened talks with the bandits to negotiating with terrorists, which the region will not take part in.
He also asked for security assurance from the County Commissioner for the transportation of relief food by the County Government to the area.
On his part, Lomenen insisted that Turkana leaders will not incite residents to violence but instead will lead in efforts to empower the community through education and business ventures. He passed condolences to the police officers killed and termed the deaths of senior officers as a big loss to the country.
Ali Lokiru warned that the bandit attacks could spill over to Turkana South and West Pokot with bandits escaping the security operation. He said the precision of bandit attacks showed the culprits were well trained and called for an investigation of retired security personnel who could be training the criminals.
Ali urged the Ministry of Education to consider giving special exams to candidates from Kapedo schools who could not attend school due to the attacks and Covid 19.
John Lodepe said the Kapedo conflict was not inter-community but a battle between security forces and terrorists. He condemned Pokot leaders defending the banditry and called for an investigation of the banditry sympathizers as potential financiers of the terror.