Bandits kill 5 along Pokot-Marakwet border, steal 300 cattle

Saturday January 6 2018

Chesogon market

Deserted shops at Chesogon market in October 2017. Tension remains high in Chesogon along the volatile border of West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties where five people were shot dead on January 5, 2018 by bandits. 

By OSCAR KAKAI
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Tension remains high in Chesogon along the volatile border of West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties where five people were shot dead Friday by bandits.

Four other people were seriously injured during the attack in which more than 300 cattle were stolen.

Leaders from West Pokot County led by Governor John Lonyangapuo, MPs Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria) and Peter Lochakapong (Sigor) on Saturday visited the area in the company of security officers.

For more than three hours, a gunfight ensued in the area between the raiders and police reservists.

Confirming the incident, Pokot Central Deputy County Commissioner Geoffrey Kithinji said the raiders ambushed herders while they were grazing in Chesegon Village.

SECURITY DEPLOYED

The administrator said that security officers have been deployed along the border to help in the recovery of animals.

“We highly suspect that these attackers crossed over from the neighbouring community but we have already deployed our team on the ground to get to the bottom of this matter,” said Mr Kithinji.  

He said that calm had been witnessed in the area for the past few months, adding that investigations are ongoing to establish the root cause of the attack.  

Addressing journalists, the Sigor MP condemned the incident and asked security officers to intensify patrols along the border.

RETURN ANIMALS

Mr Lochakapong urged peace committee members from the neighbouring county to ensure that the animals are recovered and handed back to the owners.

“We don’t want this vice to continue happening along the border since recently we opened Chesegon market to help unite the two communities,” he said.

He called on youths in the area not to plan any retaliatory attack.

The MP asked security personnel to ensure the culprits are arrested and prosecuted.

“It is unfortunate that raiders who attack and kill innocent Kenyans are not arrested and this has encouraged the vice to continue in the region. More so the culprits are known by community members and the police should ensure they are arrested,” he said.

SCHOOL ENROLMENT

Mr Lochakapong said school enrolment along the border is drastically s on the rise but feared that many parents will not allow their kids to go school after the incident.

Governor Lonyangapuo urged the government to set up an anti-stock theft unit along the border to curb cases of cattle rustling.

“As leaders from this region we are urging the national government to set up an anti-stock theft unit camp here because all we need is development and not conflicts,” he said.

Chesegon market which serves the two communities had been closed for over one year and was opened two months ago when peace was restored in the area.