For close to 6 days now, armed militia men believed to be from the Pokot community have been holding more that 900 residents and 3 police camps in Turkana country. The Pokot militia are said to have denied police access to Lorogon Village where a number of Turkanas are under siege and said to be suffering.
This came just about two months after MPs from the area protested about rising insecurity in Turkana County terming it as a very big hindrance to the county’s development. They complained that frequent attacks from the nearby Pokot County, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda had devastated the region.
Turkana East Mp Nicholas Ngikolong said at least 7 people are killed every day and he blamed it on lack of clear channel of communication. He said the number might even be more, meaning over 49 Turkana residents are killed every week. The Mps said the killings are no longer related to rustling, saying the raiders want to grab land.
This has now become a common occurrence in Turkana and it is about time the law enforcement machinery is overhauled and a totally dedicated rapid response force is deployed in the area.
Sometime back, Turkana South Mp Joseph Nanok asked the government to deploy the army at the border of the Pokots and Turkana to stop insecurity. He said heavily armed groups had invaded the area, terrorizing locals and weakening the provincial administration
Reports say heavy gunfire could be heard between GSU officers at the Lorogon camp and the militia men as police headquarters directed all the neighboring divisions to send reinforcement to the area for a rescue operation.
Turkana residents in Lorogon Village are said to be in dire need of food, water and medical assistance. Things are only going to get worse of the situation is not brought under control.
Armed militia groups should not be allowed to roam freely among communities terrorizing residents. They should be disarmed immediately and law and order restored as soon as possible. When will the residents continue living in fear of being attacked by militia men, afraid of waking up to attacks day in day out? Something needs to be done, really fast.
Police have however said no station or civilian has been taken hostage by a militia group in Lorogon village. Addressing the press at Vigilance house on Sunday on behalf of the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, National Police Service spokesperson Gatiria Mboroki said there has been tension in Turkwel over boundary disputes between the Turkana and the Pokot communities. The area administration however is speaking a different tone.
What this means is that the police are treating this as a normal insecurity situation. It is clear that the area has become a semi-conflict zone where high caliber weapons and military tactics are employed, something which the police need to give a very keen ear to.
Turkana has also been ranked the poorest county in the country and things are going to get worse of the security situation in the area is not contained.
Nixon Kanali,Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC)
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