We, the undersigned members of the Police Reforms Working Group Kenya and the Baringo Human Rights Consortium call upon the Government of Kenya to urgently address the various incidents of insecurity in the North Rift, specifically within the Counties of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and Laikipia.
Our attention has been drawn to the recent incidents of insecurity within North Rift where armed groups, bandits, and cattle rustlers have continued to viciously conduct raids on neighboring communities and as such have destroyed property, looted cattle and caused massive displacement of over 6000 people. These latest incidents are part of a long history of violence instigated by Politicians who have on numerous occasions incited the different communities against each other. These communities have been adversely affected as children are no longer able to access quality education as over 40 schools have been closed. These communities that require access to water and pasture to sustain their way of life have been left to wallow in poverty and have since sought temporary refuge in abandoned schools. The ease with which fire arms are accessed is equally a worrying trend. In the recent past, various media houses have reported that there are about 5000 to 6000 illegal firearms within the North Rift, a fact that was confirmed by Baringo County Commissioner Samuel Okwanyo during his brief to the Star Newspaper on the 1st of March 2017.
These sporadic incidents of insecurity by armed groups, bandits, and cattle rustlers within the region have led to the death two politicians; Loyamorok member of County Assembly Fredrick Cheretei and Tiaty Parliamentary aspirant Simon Pepee Kitambaa, a teacher at Kapendusum Primary School Philemon Chetalam Kemei, two National Police Reservists, Ngororo Chief Thomas Rutop Chebor and Sosian Ranch Director Tristan Voospuy amongst others.
We note the Government’s recent declaration of 19 administrative locations as disturbed and dangerous as well as the current security operation that has seen the Government deploy 381 security personnel, recruited 230 National Police Reservists and employ the use of surveillance and air support to track down armed groups, bandits, and cattle rustlers with the stated aim of restoring peace within the region. We also acknowledge the Government’s undertaking to create a compensation scheme to address victims of these systemic gross human rights violations.
However, we the undersigned organization strongly urge and recommend the following to the Government of Kenya and all relevant state agencies:
- That the current security operation should have a clear and comprehensive mechanism for disarmament.
- That the National Government presides over the transfers of the County Commissioners, Deputy County Commissioners, Officers Commanding Police Divisions and the Administration Police Commandants within the North Rift region for failing to comprehensively address this critical insecurity situation.
- That the Government gazettes more Police facilities within the North Rift region and deploy more Police officers to ensure that peace and stability prevail.
- That ongoing investigations by the police to establish those responsible be concluded as a matter of urgency and lead to prosecution of those culpable in court regardless of the office or titles they may hold.
- We demand the immediate recovery of all the 10,705 livestock stolen (Cows 2740, goats & sheep 7933, Donkeys 42) by armed groups, bandits, and cattle rustlers as soon as possible to enable the affected communities sustain their livelihood.
- We further demand that the compensation scheme to be undertaken by the government be transparent, consultative and comprehensive to cover all forms losses suffered and provide durable solutions to victims.
- We demand that the National and County Governments, Parliament and the County Assemblies concerned investigate and initiate disciplinary action against any of their members linked with these sporadic incidents of insecurity. This should include suspension from responsibilities that could hamper investigations.
Lastly, we urge the Government, Civil Society Organizations, the Private Sector and members of the Public to put in place measures for assistance and protection of persons displaced and also to assist victims in creating a conducive environment for children to access quality education and better health services within the North Rift region.
Kenya Human Rights Commission
Baringo Human Rights Consortium
On behalf of the PRWG-K consisting of: Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ-K) International Commission of Jurists –Kenya (ICJ-K) Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP) Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-K) Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) Centre for Minority Rights (CEMIRIDE) National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD) Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ), International Justice Mission (IJM), Amnesty International- Kenya (AI-K), Usalama Reforms Forum, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), Transparent International – Kenya (TI-K), Katiba Institute (K.I), Chemichemi Ya Ukweli and Independent Legal Medical Unit (IMLU).