Speaking in the tense Ngomeni neighborhood of Kitui County, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki’s speech was cut short by gunshots fired by bandits who have terrorized the locals for years.
The sound of gunfire, which could be heard just two kilometers from Mandongoi Primary School in Mwingi North, where the CS had arrived with the county security team to ensure the community’s safety, sparked alarm and put security personnel on high alert.
Prof. Kindiki recognized that the firing amounted to daring him and the government security apparatus as he traveled the region to offer condolences to the families of two victims slain by bandits in separate attacks last week.
After only three minutes of speech from the CS, four gunshots rent the air, agitating the audience and forcing Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua to intervene. He revealed to Prof. Kindiki that residents of the area endured constant fear.
The security minister declared that the thieves had crossed a line and would now be subject to the full weight of the government.
We’ll see who wins this conflict in the next days, the CS said, if they believe they are better trained or have access to more weapons than the government.
He gave the County Security Committee quick instructions to organize the logistics for security officers and vehicles to completely eliminate the threat.
In order to clear the county of armed bandits who have been terrorizing people for many years, we are prepared to send up to 5,000 police officers to Kitui, he stated.
Initial investigations revealed that armed camel herders who had invaded and taken over some neighbors’ farms with their animals were responsible for the shootings.
Mr. Kaveva Musya and Mr. Mwema Musyoka, two young men who were conducting routine business in the hamlet, managed to escape the attack by hurling themselves into a bush when they came across the robbers close to their residence.
The herders opened fire as they saw them approaching along a local footpath close to the fields where they are housing hundreds of cattle, according to a horrified Mr. Musya who spoke to Nation on the phone.
“We knew danger was nearby when the herders pushed us out, but fortunately we saw them first, and they fired at us as we fled,” said Mr. Musya. “We had gone to collect some farm equipment we had left behind.”