The government will not deploy military officers in troubled Turkana and Baringo counties, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said on Wednesday.
Addressing members of the press in Kericho, the police boss noted that the situation in Kapedo where at least four officers have been killed in recent bandit attacks, is under control.
He stated that regular police officers and those from the elite General Service Unit (GSU) are the only security teams that will be deployed in the area.
“The security situation in Kapedo is under control. We are confident of ridding the region of bandits due to change of tact in the operation,” said Natembeya.
The government has in the past resorted to military action to deal with insecurity in troubled regions like Mount Elgon.
The soldiers, who were tasked with disarming locals following the rise of Sabaot Land Defence Force rebels in 2008, were accused of violating human rights and a number of youths reported missing.
Local rights groups accused the army of torturing thousands during the operation.
The activists accused the soldiers of systematic abuses — including crawling on barbed wire, pouring water into mouths and forcing victims to whip each other. They described the operation as the worst wave of torture in Kenya under the government of President Mwai Kibaki, who retired in 2013.
In 2017, the military was also accused of brutalising locals in volatile Baringo and Laikipia counties after an operation ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta to quell deadly violence fueled by drought.
This week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i gazetted an extended 30-day curfew in Turkana and Baringo Counties as part of efforts to bring normalcy in the area.
The curfew will run between 6.30pm and 6.30am.
Matiang’i noted that the government was forced to review the existing Covid-19 curfew hours in the area due to a serious threat posed to security and public order.
Last week, six bodies were recovered in Tiaty with gunshot wounds. The killings were also linked to banditry activities in the region.
Tiaty Member of Parliament William Kamtet was briefly arrested in connection with the increasing attacks in the area. He is among leaders from the region who have recorded statements with police as the government vows to take stern action against politicians fueling tension in the area.