State deploys forces to quell Mt Elgon violence, imposes curfew

Tuesday March 06 2018

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addresses Mt Elgon residents on March 6, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the Mt Elgon region in a bid to curb resurgent violence.

Hundreds of families have been camping in primary schools following attacks by criminal gangs that have terrorised residents since the year started.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Tuesday ordered more deployment of security forces to secure residents who have been fleeing the area because of night attacks.


While speaking at a public meeting in Kipsigon, Bungoma County, Dr Matiang’i issued  a warning to the gangs he said were led by a Mr Cheparakat, who security forces have identified as the leader of the gang.

“You can run, but we will get you. We have your identities and it is only a matter of time before we arrest you,” he said.


The security minister was accompanied by Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Lands CS Faridah Karoney, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, MP Fred Kapondi among several local leaders.

The curfew means residents are to remain indoors between 6pm and 6am. During this time, police officers will be hunting down criminals.

Dr Matiang’i asked locals to give important information to the police to help bring to an end weeks of terror meted on them by a gang which is yet to say what they want.

About a decade ago, the region was a battle ground for an amorphous group calling itself Sabaot Land Defence Forces which was demanding for land rights and accused the government of allocating settlement schemes to non-natives.

The gang was quelled by military officers and their commander Wycliffe Matakwei killed.

Residents said some of the SLDF members who were recently released from prison after serving jail terms of 10 years could be avenging by targeting those they think set them up.

Most people who spoke on condition of anonymity believe the former prisoners were picking out specific families.

Residents say the gang members are well-trained and have recruited members in every ward in Mt Elgon constituency. They said that after launching raids, the gang members cross over to Uganda.