PD Reporter and DPPS @PeopleDailyKe
Security officers shielding or colluding with criminals in Mt Elgon will be sacked and prosecuted, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Ruto urged residents to cooperate with security agencies in combating rising insecurity in the region by giving information to police officers.
Speaking in Cheptais High School in Mt Elgon, Bungoma county, during an interdenominational church service, the Deputy President said meaningful development in the region cannot be achieved without peace.
“If there are officers who are working with criminals in Mt Elgon, the first line of action is to remove them from the service and charge them,” he said.
Ruto said the government, through the ministries of Interior and Coordination of National Government and Lands, will collaborate with the aim of reaching a permanent solution to the land dispute in the region.
The DP spoke following reports that hundreds of residents were fleeing Mt Elgon following renewed attacks by suspected members of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF). Controversy surrounds the ownership of Chebyuk settlement scheme.
More than 20 people have reportedly been killed in the past two months, the latest being a week ago when four people were murdered in Cheptais sub-county.
Attacks in the region have been blamed on the porous border with Uganda which makes it easy to smuggle weapons into the area.
According to locals, criminals have been taking advantage of the situation to bring in guns used in the attacks that have seen many killed and others maimed.
Locals have accused the police of doing little as attackers roam villages.
SLDF was defeated in 2008 when its leader, Wycliffe Matakwei, was killed by the Kenya Army deployed to the region under “Operation Okoa Maisha” operation.
President Mwai Kibaki launched the operation to wipe out the group that had been terrorising residents.
Since the group was crushed, suspected former members have been carrying out occasional attacks on residents of Chebyuk Settlement Scheme.
The Deputy President was accompanied by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, MPs Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East), John Waluke (Sirisia), Catherine Warunguru (Laikipia County), Kwenya Thuku (Kinangop), Joseph Gichimu (Gichugu), Janet Nangabo (Trans Nzoia) and area MP Fred Kapondi.
Ruto called on opposition leaders to shun divisive politics and instead work with the government to confront the various challenges facing the country.
The DP said the government will work with all elected leaders to transform the county.
Wangamati, who was elected on a Ford Kenya ticket, pledged to work with the national government for the sake of development.
Leaders asked residents to maintain peace to ensure the region realises its full potential.
Kapondi asked the security agencies to investigate alleged involvement of local leaders in attacks.
Speaking after the service, Lusaka said he would support his successor Wangamati’s development efforts.