Kenya to deploy troops to combat banditry and rustling

Nairobi (Caasimada Online) – The Kenyan government announced on Monday that it would deploy troops to the drought-stricken north, citing scores of deaths caused by bandits and cattle rustlers.  

Over the past six months, the Northern Rift Valley region has witnessed the loss of over 100 civilians and 16 policemen in the past six months due to the activities of “marauding bandits and livestock rustling terrorists,” as per the statement from the interior ministry,  

In northern Kenya, disputes over grazing and water sources are frequent among cattle-herding communities, resulting in livestock theft or arguments.  

However, the government claims that “murderous gangs” have recently intensified their attacks on innocent Kenyans and law enforcement agencies, burning schools, police vehicles, and other public facilities. 

Hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes, prompting the government to declare a national emergency and instructing citizens to surrender any illegal firearms within the next three days.  

The Kenya Defence Forces will be deployed in support of the National Police Service to address the security emergency caused by rampant banditry on February 15, 2023, as per the gazette notice released on Monday. 

The deployment is still subject to approval by parliament.

Cattle rustling has been a recurring problem in Kenya’s arid north, resulting in the deaths of several people in the past.  

In 2012, over 40 police officers were killed in an ambush while pursuing cattle rustlers in the country’s arid north. In 2019, at least 12 people, including three children, were killed in two attacks by cattle rustlers in northern Kenya.

Kenya, East Africa’s most vibrant economy, is currently experiencing its worst drought in four decades, resulting in the loss of livestock and crops in five consecutive failed rainy seasons.