El­geyo lead­ers con­demn Ke­rio Val­ley killings

‘Dear Mr Pres­i­dent, our peaceful Ke­rio Val­ley is turn­ing into a val­ley of death. Please lis­ten to the painful voices of res­i­dents of the Ke­rio Val­ley,’ says speaker Kochei

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - STEPHEN RUTTO @sk_rutto

El­geyo Marak­wet lead­ers have con­demned Thurs­day’s killing of one per­son and the theft of at least 100 cat­tle in Marak­wet.

Led by county as­sem­bly speaker Al­bert Kochei, they said the re­cent killing has re­versed gains in restor­ing peace in the Ke­rio Val­ley af­ter two weeks of calm.

The at­tack came six days af­ter Pub­lic Ser­vice CS Si­cily Kar­iuki launched con­struc­tion of roads on the border of El­geyo Marak­wet and Baringo coun­ties to curb ban­ditry at­tacks.

Kochei urged Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta to of­fer a last­ing so­lu­tion to in­se­cu­rity af­ter sev­eral at­tempts to end hos­til­i­ties be­tween the Pokot and the Marak­wet com­mu­ni­ties in the Ke­rio Val­ley failed. “Dear Mr Pres­i­dent, our peaceful Ke­rio Val­ley is turn­ing to be a val­ley of death. Please lis­ten to the painful voices of res­i­dents of the Ke­rio Val­ley,” he said on Fri­day in Iten.

Kochei said the grass­roots lead­ers have done ev­ery­thing in their power to end the skir­mishes, but ban­dits con­tinue to wreak havoc. “As a county lead­er­ship, we have done all that is ex­pected of us, though know­ing quite well that se­cu­rity is a na­tional func­tion,” he said.

Po­lice of­fi­cers said the mid­dle-aged man was shot dead by ban­dits sus- pected to be from Ti­aty, Baringo East.

The re­cent killing brings the death toll in the Ke­rio Val­ley at­tacks to 18 since March this year. Area lead­ers led by Endo MCA Fes­tus Kirop have urged traders to go to the area and buy farm pro­duce that is rot­ting on the farms.

Kirop said fruits, in­clud­ing man­goes, ba­nanas, or­anges and toma­toes, are rot­ting as traders fear to go to the area due to ban­ditry at­tacks.

West Pokot Sen­a­tor John Lonyan­ga­puo on Sun­day said lack of ed­u­ca­tion in Baringo East is to blame for the ris­ing cases of ban­ditry at­tacks as a ma­jor­ity of Pokot youth in Baringo East are idle.

Ban­dit and cat­tle-rustling at­tacks in the Ke­rio Val­ley have killed at least 18 peo­ple since March (See Pg30). The lat­est blood­let­ting hap­pened on Thurs­day in Marak­wet, leav­ing one dead and 100 head of cat­tle stolen.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports fruit, in­clud­ing man­goes, ba­nanas, or­anges and toma­toes, rot­ting on the farms for lack of traders, as buy­ers fear en­ter­ing the area amid ban­dit and rustling at­tacks.

There is a deeply en­trenched prob­lem in Ke­rio Val­ley, an area that res­i­dents have taken to de­scrib­ing as the ‘Val­ley of Death’, in­clud­ing as­sem­bly speaker Al­bert Kochei.

The Sen­a­tor from West Pokot, John Lonyan­ga­puo, says a ma­jor­ity of the youth of Pokot in Baringo East is idle for lack of schools in the area and join the ban­dits and rustlers.

A last­ing so­lu­tion to the job­less­ness and in­se­cu­rity chal­lenges of the Ke­rio Val­ley needs to be found as a mat­ter of pri­or­ity. This in­cludes ef­fec­tive dis­ar­ma­ment and smart in­ter­ven­tions that tar­get the youth and give them hope.

/JOSEPH KANGOGO

Youths armed with poi­soned ar­rows pa­trol the por­ous border of Baringo North and Ti­aty sub­coun­ties on Novem­ber 8

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