Security agencies in the North Rift will this month start mopping up illegal firearms, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has said.
Bandits and cattle rustlers are allegedly in possession of sophisticated weapons with which they plan to stage attacks in Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Samburu, Laikipia and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties.
“Operations targeting individuals who have not surrendered the weapons will begin this month,” Mr Natembeya told the Nation, adding that those who have not surrendered their firearms “should brace themselves for consequences”.
“Bandits should have taken advantage of the amnesty to surrender their weapons,” said Mr Natembeya.
Bandits access weapons from neighbouring countries, leading to a spike in cattle raids among pastoralists in the North Rift
The conflicts are fuelled by increased demand for crops and pasture on the banks of River Kerio.
The discovery of oil in the Turkana-West Pokot boundary has escalated the disputes.
“We have resolved to address this problem by working with elders and local leaders. Our security operations have been planned in a way that will flush out the criminals from their hideouts,” Mr Natembeya said.
“It will no longer be business as usual for bandits and cattle rustlers. We have profiled those who mastermind the attacks. Security agents will soon be going after them,” he added.
He added that plans are under way to integrate National Police Reservists with the Kenya Police Service.
“Contingents of security personnel, including the General Service Unit, the Rapid Deployment Unit and others have been deployed to troubled areas. The joint disarmament operation will start soon,” Mr Natembeya said.
The administrator added that politicians and other leaders who attempt to sabotage the operation and peace efforts will be arrested.
But Turkana South MP James Lomenen said the operation will fail if not properly coordinated.
Disarming of police reservists has exposed areas on the Baringo-Turkana border, including Kapedo, to frequent attacks and cattle raids.