35 suspects arrested over Arabal, Kapedo attacks
35 suspects linked to the Kapedo and Arabal attacks in Turkana have been arrested in a multi-agency team effort to flush out bandits, police said on Friday.
During a press conference on Friday, Police Spokesman Charles Owino said seven guns were also recovered during the operation.
“For many years we have protected pastoralists from aggression. We have recruited reservists to support police in case of impromptu attacks. It is unfortunate that some of these pastoralists have turned against police with influential people financing criminals who are cattle rustlers. The senior GSU officer was killed after coming from a peace mission. We have asked locals to surrender voluntarily illegally owned arms. They will not be prosecuted. We have put financiers of cattle rustlers on notice,” he said.
The Police Spokesman warned that the security agencies will not be leaving the area until normalcy in the area is restored and urged those responsible for the attacks to surrender voluntarily.
According to him, pastoralism has been turned into a commercial enterprise but the financiers are being monitored and will face the law.
At the same time, Mr. Owino watered down claims that agencies handling the operation are involved in extra judicial killings.
On January 26, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i announced a 6pm-6am curfew in Kapedo and surrounding areas to quell recurrent incursions and rising tension.
He said the government has resolved not to de-escalate security operations in the area until armed bandits are conclusively dealt with and illegal firearms seized.
The situation in Kapedo has evolved into a humanitarian crisis with 2,500 families affected according to the Kenya Red Cross.
They are said to be at risk of severe hunger, lack of medical supplies and constant threat of injury and even death.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) as well as the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have also threatened to withdraw their members from Kapedo and Baringo areas over insecurity.