18 people have been killed after being attacked by gangs in Laikipia West in Kenya. The gangs also torched houses and made away with an unknown number of cattle. Members of the murderous gang that committed this heinous crime had guns and are believed to be part of a ring of cattle rustlers that have terrorised the area in recent days in the cover of the post-election violence that rocked parts of the country following the disputed December 27th elections. Just last week 9 people were killed and 100 houses burnt in Soilo and Muhotetu villages in the same area.
The Police Spokesperson, Mr. Kiraithe, said that 12 people have already been arrested in relation to the killings and will be charged in court for the murder of the 18 and arson. This incident further reminds us of just how non-existent the Kenyan government is outside of the major towns and cities. How can such armed gangs roam around committing the kinds of crimes the country has witnessed in Laikipia and Mt. Elgon without state agents knowing about it? And how can this happen even at the height of police presence throughout the country in the aftermath of the chaos of the last two months?
Surely Mr. Ali and his men can do better than this. And the Kenyan intelligence agencies should be roasted for not knowing anything about such operations by these gangs.
For a few months now a rag tag group of bandits calling itself the Sabaot Land Defense Force has been terrorizing the residents of Mt. Elgon in West Kenya. According to the Standard, the group has killed over 540 people in what it terms a war for land. According to a certain website (veracity of the facts therein not guaranteed), the group comprises of the Pok people who are trying to take land from the area’s indigenous community- the Cheptkitale Ogiek. I do not understand why the Kenyan government took so long before reacting to this group. The current move to use the military against the group is therefore most welcome, despite the fact that it is over 540 lives too late.
People like the members of this group should be made to realise that it is not an option to take arms against a sitting government (killing civilians is an affront to the government). I am not a fun of rebel movements, no matter what their cause is. Rebel movements have ensured that large parts of Africa remain in “pre-modern mode” because of incessant civil wars that have resulted in the deaths of millions – most of them being innocent women and children – and economic regression.
I hope that the Kenyan military will deal decisively with this gang and that the government will thereafter move in to settle the land issues once and for all. It is sad that there seems to be two Kenyas. One where human lives matter and government response is swift and a different one in places like West Pokot, Mt. Elgon and the Ethiopian border where the government only reacts to disasters and doesn’t seem to have any elaborate plan of action. Kenyans everywhere within our territorial boundaries should feel the full effect of government – taxes, police, justice, security, schools, healthcare, etc