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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Samburu North MP Alois Lentoimaga calls for return of reservists to fight cattle rustling

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Samburu North Member of Parliament, Alois Lentoimaga has called for restoration of reservists in the arid north to fight cattle rustling.

Mr. Lentoimaga argues that counties occupied by pastoralists face challenges of low state penetration, small arms and decades of inter-communal conflicts, situations that have made the region to suffer perennial insecurity and under-development.

“Since independence, Northern Kenya has borne the brunt of cattle rustling, banditry and land clashes. This partly prompted the recruitment and deployment of National Police Reservists (NPRs), previously called KPRs (Kenya Police Reservists), he said adding that “this is an ancillary force armed by the state to provide security services in areas where police presence is inadequate like Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia and West Pokot.

The Kenya Police Act provides that “the reserve may be employed for assisting the force in maintenance of law and order, the preservation of peace, the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, and the enforcement of all laws and regulations with which the force is charged”.

In May 2019, the Ministry of Interior withdrew guns from reservists in pastoralist counties, alleging that the units “were misusing their weapons to attack residents”. Sadly, what’s being overlooked is the crucial role reservists play in curbing violence in the arid north. For years, they have been of great benefit to the police.

The legislature say that since their withdrawal three years ago, a wave of insecurity has swept Baragoi in Samburu North, Turkana, Baringo and West Pokot due to competition for resources and infiltration of small arms.

He also blames ease of access of illegal guns to a spike in banditry and cattle rustling activities in the region arguing that most guns are cheap, need minimal maintenance and require little training to use.

“This means that even the youngest herds boy can assume the status of a warrior and join the ever-growing militias,” said the MP.

Mr. Lentoimaga notes that in recent years, disarmament operations have failed because of absence of reliable services of NPR.

He recommends that recruitment of reservists should incorporate factors such as; age, gender, marital status, education level and economic status adding this will ensure an effective workforce by selecting young, energetic, literate and responsible people while considering gender balance.

The legislature also argues that there is a need to establish a reservists’ training centre and develop a curriculum covering areas such as community policing, human rights, peace building and intelligence gathering.

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