A shoot-to-kill order was Friday issued to contain rising insecurity in western Kenya and other parts of the country.
Deputy President William Ruto told police to use maximum force in dealing with criminal gangs, pointing out that the government was concerned about the rising insecurity in the country.
“We have instructed police to use force to ensure criminal gangs do not take over the country. There are those who think the guns police have lack bullets. Any person armed to cause mayhem will be shot. The attacks and killing of innocent citizens should be immediately stopped,” said Mr Ruto who flew to Bungoma with top security chiefs including Inspector General David Kimaiyo.
He spoke as President Uhuru Kenyatta warned criminals they would face the full force of the law.
“Nobody will be allowed to threaten the existing peace in the country,” President Kenyatta said in a speech read on his behalf by Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki during a luncheon hosted by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance at a Nairobi hotel.
The insecurity matter has taken an international dimension, with the UN asking the government to stop the attacks and killings.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Modibo Toure yesterday condemned recent attacks in Bungoma, which have claimed 10 lives and left more than 100 seriously injured.
“Residents are apprehensive as the motive of the indiscriminate attacks is not known,” he said.
Elsewhere, the Anglican Church of Kenya has urged the government to act to stem the wave of attacks.
“The insecurity and lawlessness has reached state of emergency proportions and should be addressed with urgency. The fact that a few local criminals are mobilised to launch attacks despite a police investigation is a sign of decadence in the country’s security systems,” said ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.
He said the swiftness and coordination of the attacks showed structured planning.
“Whether the attacks are fuelled by local politics, economic interests or cultural intolerance, they display insensitivity to human dignity,” he said.
Speaking in Bungoma, Mr Ruto noted that the government had scaled up its intelligence gathering arm to ensure it gets to the root of the attacks.
He said additional GSU and Administration Police officers had been deployed to the affected areas to contain insecurity.
“We have also provided five additional vehicles to intensify patrols and response in addition to adding the number of officers to ensure normalcy is restored in affected areas so that Kenyans go on with their daily lives,” he said.
He urged governors and county commissioners to cooperate and ensure service delivery to residents.
Meanwhile, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said leaflets had been circulating in various villages warning of further attacks in the area.
“Such leaflets should be investigated so that their source is known. In most cases, the attacks have been carried out following the circulation leaflets,” said Mr Wetang’ula during a public rally at Bungoma Posta grounds.
“The county commissioners should closely work with the governors to ensure service delivery for all Kenyans. We are not in political competition, we want to offer services to Kenyans,” he said.
The Deputy President said the time for politics is over and urged all leaders to work to transform the country and offer services.
He challenged young men to stop forming criminal gangs and instead form saccos to do business so that they uplift their lives.
The deputy president said the Sh6billion that the government had promised youth is ready and each constituency will be allocated Sh15million.
Addressing a public rally at Bungoma Posta grounds, Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale wondered if the recent attacks happening in Bungoma and Busia counties are because the locals did not vote for the Jubilee government.
“Our people have been killed since 1992, 1997 and 2007 when we voted for leaders in the opposition. The government should come clear on this,” he said.
Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula said leaflets have been circulating in various villages warning of further attacks in the area and called for thorough investigations to be conducted.
“Such leaflets should be investigated so that their source is known. In most cases, the attacks have been carried out following the circulation leaflets.
Mr. Wetang’ula said most police officers working in the County have overstayed in their stations and are too familiar with the people and could be harboring criminals.
“We demand an overhaul of the entire security personnel in the County. We want new officers deployed here so that we restore public confidence in the police force,” he said.
Similar sentiments were shared by the Governor Mr. Ken Lusaka who said police are to blame for the insecurity.
MPS Dr. David Eseli (Tongaren), James Mukwe (Kabuchai), Reginalda Wanyonyi(Women representative),Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), John Waluke (Sirisia), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi) and Boniface Otsyula (Bumula) addressed the rally.
Tempers earlier flared during a security meeting attended by the security team, and political held at Kabula pastoral centre.
The security meeting which was initially open to the press turned stormy forcing the Deputy President to order the media out.
Western Provincial commissioner Mr. James Ole Serian was at pains to explain what his team has done to contain the situation since it began two weeks ago.
Mr. Ruto demanded to know if the PC had held any security meeting and public barazas in the affected areas in a bid to resolve the insecurity and get to the bottom of the attacks.
“I will not be wrong to say you as the PC has not held any security meeting in the affected areas to address the insecurity?” paused Mr. Ruto.
Bungoma County Commissioner Mr. Jamleck Baruga defended himself when probed by the Deputy President to explain what he has done to contain the security.
He said there is no security committee in Bungoma and is the only senior security officer at the County level.
“We do not have a County police Commander. Neither do we have a County intelligence officer. I am the only officer that is to sit in the County security committee,” said Mr. Baruga.
The PC told the meeting that a total of 309 people have already been arrested in and charged in relation to the attacks in Busia and Bungoma.
He however said he police lack equipment to deal with criminals insisting that vehicles should be deployed in each division within the counties.
Cord leaders plan to Bungoma and Busia tomorrow. The leaders will include former PM Raila Odinga, Senate Minority leader Moses Wetangula among others.
Mr Ruto flew to Bungoma accompanied by Inspector General of police Mr. David Kimayio, Internal security Permanent Secretary Mr. Mutea Iringo, Deputy Inspectors General of police Mrs. Grace Kaindi and Samuel Arachi alongside CID Director Mr. Ndegwa Muhoro.
Political leaders and church leaders from Bungoma County also attended the meeting that was convened in a bid to get to the bottom of a series of attacks that has left more than 10 people killed and hundreds injured in Busia and Bungoma counties.