Deputy President William Ruto has issued a shoot-to-kill order on armed bandits wreaking havoc in the North Rift.
Speaking in Sibilo in Baringo North during a peace rally and launch of National Police Reservists in the volatile areas, Mr Ruto on Friday said the armed bandits should not be shown mercy anymore.
“Armed criminals who can dare kill a two-day-old baby can do anything and should not be spared but face the same consequences," he said.
"I am issuing an order to police officers and police reservists to shoot any bandit they come across.”
He said it was sad to see young children and mothers sleeping in the cold due to the incessant bandit attacks and cattle rustling in the region.
“I have ordered police officers to shoot anyone stealing livestock whether in possession of a firearm or not and also anyone found with an illegal firearm will be shot on sight.," he said.
"We will no longer lose more people because of some few elements who do not want to reform."
The order comes after more than nine people were killed by bandits in Baringo County and more than 3,000 others displaced over the last one week.
As the DP’s meeting was going on in Sibilo, a chief was shot dead in Chekokel Village, five kilometres from the meeting.
Ng’orora Location Chief Thomas Chebor was gunned down by armed bandits while on his way to Chekokel to recover stolen livestock.
In Bartabwa in the same county, Mr Ruto's meeting was temporarily disrupted after gunshots were heard some distance from where the DP was.
There was tension and some locals scampered for safety. but the meeting continued after the gunshots stopped.
But while Mr Ruto's order was well received by the reservists, under the Constitution, he has no power to order the killing of bandits and other criminals.
It is Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet who can issue that order, but it must be within the law.
Mr Boinnet's office is independent and he cannot take such an order from the President or Deputy President either.
But President Kenyatta, the commander-in-chief of Kenya's defence forces, can issue such an order to the military.