12 More Bandit-Prone North Rift Areas Declared Scenes of Crime, Civilians Ordered to Vacate

In the wake of the persistent banditry attacks in the North rift, Interior Cabinet Secretary Professor Kithure Kindiki ordered 27 areas in Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, and Turkana Counties to vacate and pave way for the second phase of the ongoing security operations.

“All law-abiding civilians are hereby ordered to vacate the following areas and coordinates immediately and in any case within twenty-four hours effective Sunday, March 12, 2023,” ordered Kindiki

The Interior Cabinet Secretary has however reviewed the vacation order which exempts some earlier mentioned areas and also includes other areas where residents are meant to vacate.

In a statement dated 13th March, the areas excluded include Kapelbok, Nakwamoru, Lobokat, Lokoron, the Turkwell Escarpment and Ombollion areas within Turkana and West Pokot Counties.

The areas included in the vacation order include Ng’elecha Hills and Gorges, Ramacha and Losokoni Caves, Laramoru Gorges, Karau Hills, Noosidan Escarpment, Rugus Caves and the Amaya Gorges at the interface of Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu Counties.

According to Kindiki anyone found in the mentioned areas after Tuesday 14th will be treated as a bandit or an accomplice of bandits. “Any member of the public found in the spaces specified in this paragraph after Tuesday 14th March 2023 7:30 PM will be treated as a suspect of armed banditry, or as a suspect of aiding and abetting banditry,” Kindiki warned.

As the residents continue to vacate, Turkana South Member of Parliament John Namoit has opposed Kindiki’s order citing that it is impractical. The Member of Parliament argued that the residents should be given immediate areas of refuge as they have nowhere to go.

“These Kenyans do not have immediate areas of refuge and their properties should be protected instead of ordering them to vacate.” Stated Namoit

Mr. Namoit also urged Kindiki to consider other alternatives instead of forcing the residents out of their homes. The MP suggested that the bandit hideouts should be identified with area elders and ransacked as the information has already been shared with authorities.

The order by Kindiki is among the new measures implemented by the Government to start the second phase of security operations, which is meant to weed out the bandits out of their hideouts.

Ruth Wanjiru

KU TV news reporter