Monday, November 26, 2012

New hitch hits hunt for Baragoi bandits

Baragoi a ghost town as security operation begins
By MUCHEMI WACHIRA mwachira@ke.nationmedia.com

Security forces cannot access a new Turkana settlement where rustlers who killed more than 40 policemen in Baragoi, Samburu County, have pitched tent.

Nawapeto Manyatta is located in wilderness about 25 kilometres from Baragoi Town and vehicles taking humanitarian aid to the villagers have to cruise through the bush for lack of roads.

The occupants of the manyatta, which is strategically located on a low lying area, can see any vehicle coming towards them from more than five kilometres. They use binoculars to spot any visitors.

The nearest manyatta is about 11 kilometres away. “This place is being controlled by Turkana militias and no GK vehicle can access it,” Rift Valley provincial commissioner Osman Warfa told the Nation on Monday.

Mr Warfa said only vehicles with the emblem of the Kenya Red Cross Society are allowed into the area.

Military combat aircraft hovering over the manyatta has caused panic among the residents who fear that there are plans to bomb them.

Security personnel are hunting down the killer bandits in a bid to recover 450 cattle the Turkana raiders stole from Samburus on October 20. The theft of these animals led to the Baragoi massacre. (READ: Cattle raids and tribal rivalries to blame for perennial conflict)

Samburu county commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga had last week directed Turkana chiefs to convince the occupants of the manyatta to return guns and ammunitions stolen from the police during the November 10 attack.

But the inhabitants reportedly declined to cooperate with the chiefs, who until yesterday were still trying to persuade them.

Meanwhile, members of the parliamentary committee on security on Monday landed in Maralal where they held a meeting. But Turkana leaders complained that they were not represented in the team led by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi.

Other members of the team are MPs Chachu Ganya (North Horr), Raphael Letimalo (Samburu East) and Maison Leshoomo (Nominated).

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