Former Laikipia North Member of Parliament Mathew Lempurkel has been arrested over unrest in Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
Lempurkel was arrested at his home in Rongai, Kajiado County, on Wednesday and whisked to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters in Nairobi for questioning.
The county was recently declared a security zone following bandit attacks that have left residents displaced and several police officers injured.
According to authorities, the heavily armed attackers, who are operating in the area with impunity are intimidating ranch owners and stealing their livestock.
Pastoralists in the area claim that the huge tracts of land owned by the ranchers were their ancestral land.
The government has in the past alleged local politicians’ hands in endless disputes in the area.
The leaders have been blamed for inciting locals to invade farms, ranches, and wildlife conservancies, to graze their livestock.
Without mentioning names, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has severally said that some politicians were funding the illegal activities.
This is, however, not the first time Lempurkel has been arrested in connection with tension in Laikipia.
In March 2017, he was arrested and grilled over the Laikipia clashes.
Dusk to dawn curfew
CS Matiang’i imposed a 6pm-6am curfew in Laikipia Nature Conservancy and its environs as the state embarked on a major operation to flush out illegal herders and bandits.
On Tuesday, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya, while giving an update on the ongoing operation, claimed some of the attackers are armed with sophisticated weapons than the police.
“While our officers are using AK 47 and G3 rifles, the bandits are using M16 and other heavy rifles which are usually used by foreign armies,” said Natembeya.
The police boss added, “we do not know how they get these heavy weapons.”