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Where life is nasty, brutish and short

As if to thumb their noses at the security operation launched by the government in the area two weeks ago, bandits on Wednesday killed nine people in Baringo’s Mukutani Village.

The raiders were responding to another attack that clearly demonstrates the gun-toting criminals’ scant respect for the law and the people whose business it is to enforce it.

In the Wild North — Baringo, Laikipia, Elgeyo Marakwet and Samburu — the gun is increasingly the only real power. If you have the gun, you have the power, the law can go jump off a cliff at Suguta Valley.

Besides apparent helplessness of the security forces, the people have another reason to dispair. The bandits are not only killing and maiming helpless women and children, they are now training their weapons on the high and mighty.

Although there have been denials, there were reports early in the week that bandits had attacked the convoy of Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi.

Two weeks before, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet denied that herders who had invaded a ranch in Laikipia had shot at his helicopter.

No one denied when the ranch owner Tristan Voorspuy was killed a few hours later. The gunshots in the wild North are being echoed by gunshots in the concrete jungle.

While in Baringo power belongs to the person with gun, in Nairobi, the gun belongs to the one with the power — both political and financial. It explains why in the city and other supposedly civilised areas, some people brandish guns the way most of us brandish the index finger.

If it is any consolation, we are not the only country where goons rule with the gun. Across the border in Uganda, police spokesman Andrew Kaweesi and two of his colleagues were shot dead near his home in Kampala on Thursday.

In France, a 16-year-old pupil went berserk with a gun, leaving four people injured. It is a mean, nasty, brutish world. Or is it not?

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