Kenya’s leaders from clash-hit region in ceasefire deal

Kenya’s leaders from cattle- rustling prone areas in northwest region on Thursday resolved to cease hostilities to help to end inter-communal violence that has rocked the region.
KenyaThe leaders from Samburu, Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot which have been hit by violence that has led to the scores of death in the past two weeks also called for immediate reopening of all schools closed because of cattle rustling activities.
“The leaders also agreed with the government to increase the number of Kenya police reservists and empower and also register guns,” they said in a joint statement following a meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi.
The meeting followed the spate of violence that has left scores of people dead and displacement of others as well as closure of schools in the four counties.
Residents have been living under tension amid fears of retaliatory attacks. Security officers have also mounted a security operation to flush out bandits who have terrorized residents since last week.
But the police claimed the clashes between Pokot and Turkana including Samburus were incited by a local politician. Samburu shares borders with Turkana County, which in turn borders South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.
The leaders- Governors, Senators, lawmakers and County representatives met in a meeting that saw them speak candidly about the vice.
They agreed to cease hostilities, convene peace meetings beginning next Monday, explore ways of solving boundary issue and cattle rustling which they said was at the heart of the disputes.
Others were involvement of religious leaders in search for peace, recruitment and deployment of Kenya police reservist (KPR), establishment of special police unit to be named-anti cattle rusting squad, establishment of police posts, irrigations schemes, schools, health centers in areas prone to menace and establishment of ministry to deal with issues of pastoralists.
Speaking after the meeting, Ruto told the leaders to take whatever steps needed to contain cattle rustling activities.
He condemned the barbaric acts that have caused the loss of lives of innocent Kenyans and animals stolen, adding that the violence must come to an end.
Ruto called for concerted efforts in the fight against the menace and urged the leaders to take the initiative and tell the people that there were enough resources in the region that could take care of their needs if fully exploited instead of engaging in cattle rustling activities.
Ruto regretted that insecurity in the area has retarded development efforts including closure of 41 schools and asked the leaders to demonstrate their seriousness in the war against the vice.
He said Kerio Valley was a sleeping giant whose natural resources could transform the lives of the people if its potentiality was exploited to the maximum. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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