The Senate National Security Committee visited Mutha ward in Kitui South on a fact-finding mission over the invasion of residents’ farms and settlements by camel herders from Garissa and Wajir Counties.
The committee led by Baringo senator William Cheptumo met with the Kitui County security team, local leaders, and victims of last week’s conflicts between farmers and camel herders that resulted in the death of two people.
The team was hosted by Kitui County senator Kiio Wambua who is also a member of the committee and expressed concern over the state of insecurity in the area due to the invasion.
The victims and local leaders while speaking during the meeting held at Mutha Market pointed fingers at the security officers for being compromised and siding with the camel herders.
“Security officers have been reluctant in responding to reports we make to them and recorded at Mutha police station On threats and invasion of our farms by the camel herders. The security officers at Mutha police station were compromised even the security officers were using police vehicles to transport food and other supplies to the herder’s manyatta’s erected inside Kitui South game reserve,” the victims and local leaders told the committee.
While speaking during the meeting, Senator Kiio expressed concern over residents’ action of storming the Mutha police station and damaging the station’s police cars during the residents’ demo last week. The irate residents were protesting over the herder’s invasion and the reluctance of security officers to respond to their cries.
“It’s unfortunate for the action of the residents to result in storming the station and damaging police cars. Kambas have never done so before and their actions demonstrated impatience for justice to them and actions should be taken immediately.” Senator Wambua said.
The Kitui County Commissioner Erastus Mbui who is the chairman of the County security committee briefed the senate committee on the progress of ongoing security operations to flush out the camel herders from the county.
The Kitui County police boss Leah Kithei confirmed that two people were killed and two camels were also killed with the other two camels injured. The meeting agreed on resolutions to resolve the conflict among them erecting of electric fence along the Kitui South game reserve since the game reserve is a gateway for camel herders to enter Kitui county.
Other resolutions are the provision of fuel for police cars and transfers of security officers whom the residents complained that have been collaborating with the camel herders.
The security committee members urged the residents to maintain calm as their cries for a permanent solution over recurrent invasion by the camel herders are being addressed.
The senate security committee chairman promised an immediate response within the next three days and also a new game changer to end the historical camel herders and farmers’ recurrent crisis. Both security team members toured the affected area and came face to face with the camel herders inside the game reserve. They also witnessed the destruction of the herders’ temporally shelters at the game reserve.