BY WINSTONE MUSISI
Tension has gripped Kaben village in the banditry prone Kerio Valley today after a 30 year-old woman and her two children were ambushed and killed by heavily armed cattle rustlers.
The deceased was harvesting millet in her one acre farm when the cattle rustlers struck, suspected to be from neighboring West Pokot County, killing her and her 4 and 7 year old children who were playing opposite the farm.
Following the renewed cattle rustling attack in the vast region, local residents have started to flee their homes in droves towards the
escarpment for safety alongside their school going children.
200 animals gone
The raiders according to John Marirmoi who is former Marakwet east MP, are said to have escaped with more than 200 animals despite the presence of administration and regular police officers stationed some five kilometres from the scene of the incident.
The bodies of the deceased persons were collected and transported to Tot sub county hospital by the police officers who were responding to distress calls from the affected families.
Speaking to Mwanahabari.co.ke, Marirmoi and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Elgeyo Marakwet branch executive secretary Paul Biwott condemned the incident which they said was a sign of provocation from the raiders against the host community.
They called on the national government to bring back the Kenyan Police Reservists who were withdrawn from the area some years back as they understood the terrains which the raiders were using to launch their raiding missions in the region.
“The rustlers are taking advantage by raiding locals at will because they know our KPR personnel who used to supplement the work of the security officers in combating the vice are no longer there,” said Marirmoi.
He claimed the latest cattle raid has caused tension and anxiety in the entire Valley just when the local residents had started to enjoy peace in the wake of heightened security patrols by the police officers.
Biwott expressed fear that public primary and secondary schools might be closed down due to fear of fresh attacks and asked the government to beef up security in all learning institutions along Kerio Valley.
Residents living in fear
“Some of the teachers in the affected village and three others that border West Pokot have fled to safer areas and more are planning to follow suit and if the government will not move with speed to contain the situation, all the schools will be deserted by Saturday,” warned Biwott.
Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar has assured the affected victims of cattle raids that the government had already deployed additional security officers in the region to check the vice.
“We are liaising with our counterparts from West Pokot County to ensure the stolen animals are returned without further delay to their owners for the sake of peace and unity among the two communities,” said Omar