Kenya: Police reservists be armed, leaders tell state
Leaders and residents of Baringo North and South have called on the government to reinstate National Police Reserve (NPR) personnel in the sub-counties, saying security officers sent there are unfamiliar with the terrain.
More than 450 reservists from Tiaty, Baringo North and Baringo South sub-counties were disarmed in May 2019. The government then said it wanted to enter their contact details digitally. He promised to control them and train them again before releasing the guns.
Residents, however, say banditry, cattle rustling and general insecurity have increased since reservists were disarmed, adding that armed men roam their areas freely. Many have fled their homes to seek refuge in security camps.
Mr Richard Chepchomei, a Chemoe alumnus in Baringo North, said security guards were doing little to restore order and recover the stolen animals.
“The government has left us to our own devices. The police camps are of little help. Reservists know the terrain and usually repel criminals and recover stolen cattle. We still don’t know why they were disarmed,” said Mr. Chepchomei.
He added that Chemoe, Yatya, Kagir, Ng’aratuko, Chepkesin, Kamwetio, Kaborion, Kapturo, Kinyach and Loruk are among the areas most affected by banditry in Baringo North.
The government seized guns
The elder said children from Kapindasim, Kasiela, Arabal and Chemorong’ion cannot walk freely to school for fear of attacks.
“Reservists were patrolling areas that the police couldn’t access. Security guards only patrol the roads, but the criminals are hiding in the bush, ”he said.
Mochongoi Ward representative Kipruto Kimosop questioned the government’s retention of arms.
“The government has seized the weapons of the reservists, but it knows that we are surrounded by criminals. Normalcy has returned because of the reservists but the inhabitants are now vulnerable,” said Mr. Kimosop.
During gun registration, Baringo County Police Commander Robinson Ndiwa said there would be a new roster and training to eliminate people he accused of collaborating with criminals .
“Most reservists are aligned with politicians and are not performing their duties as required. Plans are underway for a re-check and re-training to ensure the right people are enlisted. The guns will be returned once there is ‘biometric registration completed,’ Ndiwa said.
“We also want to know the number of reservists and guns.”
Using firearms to commit a crime
Prior to disarmament, some leaders in the Kerio Valley accused reservists of using their weapons to commit crimes.
Tiaty MP William Kamket attributed the banditry to the government’s decision to arm police reservists without proper control.
“The armed reservists were recruited in a hurry. We want them to be withdrawn and checked again. Those in Elgeyo Marakwet and Kapedo use their weapons to commit crimes. It is like providing a uniform and a weapon to a bandit, ”Kamket said.
Kolowa neighborhood representative Solomon Makal said reservists in Elgeyo Marakwet County had received more than 700 guns “but those in Tiaty only received 40”.
“It is to arm one community against another. We want these reservists to withdraw immediately,” said Mr. Makal.
The government deployed 381 police officers and more than 450 reservists to Baringo Nord, Sud and Tiaty in 2016.
Security guards were sent to Chepkesin, Kagir, Yatya, Ng’aratuko and Kinyach in Baringo North while others went to Noosukro, Ruggus, Mukutani and Ng’elecha.