Cabinet Secretary for Home Affairs (CS) Kithure Kindiki on Tuesday came face to face with the rampant insecurity that has long plagued parts of Kitui County.
While addressing a high-level meeting on security in the Mandongoi region of Mwingi North in the company of senior Kitui security officials, Kindiki was shocked when suspected armed camel herders fired fire at him. several times, a few kilometers from the meeting point.
Residents attending the meeting panicked and some tried to flee, but the CS calmed them down.
Kindiki had just ordered the forced eviction of all camel herders grazing in Kitui County when the bloodthirsty criminals blasted the air with their mighty guns.
Some interpreted this as a mock gesture by the armed shepherds at the security meeting.
The gunshots could be heard for miles. “Nimeskia nimeskia. Wacha wapige tu, si mimi niko hapa, Wacha wapige (I heard. Let them keep shooting. I’m here, let them keep shooting,” CS said.
Kindiki instructed the security team to immediately remove all camel herders grazing in Kitui County.
At the same time, the SC authorized the recruitment of 250 National Police Reservists (NPR) for Kitui County to bolster police departments in enhancing security.
The SC noted that camel herders from Kenya’s North East and Tana River counties have caused a lot of havoc in Kitui County resulting in the deaths of several people.
The latest to be killed is a 50-year-old man from Mandongoi who was killed five days ago by suspected herders.
Kindiki also ordered the Kitui County Commissioner and the entire security team to ensure that his order was carried out to the letter.
“I want to know how many police officers are needed to implement this order. These camel herders must leave Kitui County immediately. We are not going to have a discussion with criminals, ”said a visibly angry Kindiki as soon as the gunfire died down.
He noted that herders who are said to be heavily armed with illegal weapons can only graze in Kitui county with the express permission of residents. If residents do not feel safe in their presence, they should leave, he said.
“These people have operated with impunity for a very long time. This must now end. Everyone must obey the law,” he told a meeting also attended by Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and regional MP Paul Nzengu.
And the SC has challenged criminals who have caused untold suffering to sections of Kitui County residents and elsewhere in the country to put him on trial.
“I want to challenge the criminals to bring their best weapons. Let them bring their best skills. There is no way criminals can compete with the government,” Kindiki charged.
The SC also ordered the forced eviction of all illegal herders hiding in the Mwingi North and Kitui South National Game Reserves.
“All camels and illegal herders in these areas must be evicted. I order all ranchers outside of Kitui County to go home,” he said.
Kindiki urged the police officers to abide by the law while carrying out his orders, saying the government will defend them in carrying out their mandate.
He said he would be back in Kitui County to launch NPR officers to bolster security in the volatile region. Kindiki also pledged the completion of a local police station in Mandongoi and the posting of more police to the area.