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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya deploys military forces to four strife-torn northern counties

by Chris Mgidu and Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced deployment of the military to four counties that are reeling from banditry, inter-tribal skirmishes and invasion of private ranches.

Kenyatta said the Kenya Defense Forces would complement regular police and reservists in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Laikipia to combat a wave of insecurity there.

He said the deployment would also aid disarmament and surrender of firearms illegally held by civilians in the volatile counties.

The military deployment followed weeks of inter-communal clashes, cattle rustling and invasion of private ranches that led to loss of lives and massive destruction of property.

Eleven people died early this week during retaliatory attacks staged by rival nomadic communities in Baringo and West Pokot counties.

Insecurity in Kenya’s northern frontier districts worsened early this year amid biting drought that fuelled inter-tribal clashes over water and pasture.

While cattle rustling and retaliatory attacks featured prominently in Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Laikipia experienced a wave of illegal invasion of private ranches by herders.

Tristan Voorspuy, a British co-owner of Sosio ranch in Laikipia, was on March 5 killed by invading raiders who were in search for water and pasture.

Kenyatta in his state of the nation address on Wednesday reaffirmed his government’s commitment to enhance security and peaceful co-existence in the arid northern counties.

"We have agreed today that the military will join hands with the police to enhance rapid response to insecurity and unrest in the northern counties," said Kenyatta, adding that individuals who incite communities to take up arms will be punished.
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SEE ALSO:

Kenya intensifies crackdown on cattle rustlers after deadly attacks

           

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