Two people were Monday evening killed by armed bandits and another injured in two separate attacks in Merti, Isiolo.
The bandits, suspected to have come from Samburu and Wajir counties, unleashed terror in Yachis and Urura villages and stole 300 goats in the first attack.
While police reports indicate that two people were killed, residents maintained that four residents were shot dead during the attacks.
Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said the attackers were being pursued and that the man who was injured during the Urura attack was being treated at the Isiolo Referral Hospital.
He said a contingent of police officers had been deployed to beef up security and prevent retaliatory attacks and also help in the recovery of the stolen animals.
“We have enough officers on the ground to ensure peace prevails so that our people continue with their activities uninterrupted. We are committed to arresting the attackers,” said Mr Omoding, adding that the State had posted additional police officers to the county who will assist in eradicating the insecurity menace especially in the far-flung areas.
At least 20 people have been killed in banditry attacks in the last two months in Isiolo with local leaders expressing fears that the situation could worsen in the coming months due to drought.
Failure to speedily avert the attacks, the leaders say, could turn the county into a battlefield and result in loss of more lives and animals, threatening pastoralism which is the economic mainstay for majority of the residents.
Mr Omoding said the security team thwarted a planned attack by a group of 20 Morans from a neighbouring county targeting their Turkana neighbours living in Isiolo.
Water and pasture
Competition for water and pasture in the semi-arid area, land disputes, political intrigues and proliferation of illegal firearms in the region, where herders carry firearms to protect their animals, are among the major contributors to the conflicts between pastoralists in Isiolo and those in the neighbouring Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Laikipia and Meru counties.
Mr Omoding maintained that morans suspected to be from Samburu County who continue to raid and kill their Isiolo neighbours will be ruthlessly dealt with, noting that they reactivated security networks from the grassroots level.
“They should abandon the retrogressive moranism culture or perish. Those with illegal guns should hand them over to police or risk forceful disarmament,” he warned.
He said anyone with an illegal gun will be treated as a criminal, adding that it is risky for residents when some of them have guns which he said make it hard for the government to protect people and their properties.
The multi-agency security team, he said, was sharing intelligence reports with their Wajir, Laikipia, Samburu and Garissa counties in efforts to end the incessant attacks.
The team is also investigating the likelihood of faceless people behind the attacks.
“Any politician involved will be severely dealt with and youths being misused to unleash terror punished,” Mr Omoding maintained.
He asked residents to volunteer crucial information that could help police in making arrests and containing the menace.