The national government has recruited and deployed additional 250 National Police Reservists (NPR) in West Pokot County to complement and reinforce the security officers on the ground.
Speaking yesterday at Kapenguria police station during the inauguration, the county police commandant, Mathew Kuto said the new recruits will work closely with the 685 NPR’s who are already on the ground.
Kuto said the reservists have already been trained on how to handle fire arms and deployed to areas bordering with Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties.
He said the government is committed to restore peace in those areas which are experiencing insecurity and will continue recruiting and deploying more NPRs so as to boost security in volatile areas before the general elections.
“We are recruiting the NPRs in a clear, accountable and transparent way. We are not just giving uniforms or fire arms to anyone. They are vetted, trained and given uniforms and they are answerable to officers in charge of police stations where they serve,” he said.
Kuto called on those still with illegal fire arms to voluntary surrender or ensure that they register them with relevant security organs on the ground, saying the government will be forced to get them by force if those still possessing them will not do it.
The commandant attributed cases of insecurity in the area to fire arms in the hands of unauthorized people.
“There are various means which the government can use to get these illegal arms. But the government is just saying in a polite way that just register such guns please so that we know how they are used,” he said.
Pokot Central Sub County deputy commissioner Geofrey Kithinji said the government was committed to dealing with insecurity in West Pokot County and asked the chiefs along with other security officers to play their roles effectively.
Kithinji commended members of the public for their continued support and cooperation with the security personnel on the ground to foster peace and security.
“The members of the public have been very cooperative and I appeal to them to work closely with the newly recruited NPRs to uphold peace in the area”, said the deputy commissioner.
The area Governor Simon Kachapin, asked the government to hire local reservists in the county, saying they are better placed and understand the area terrain and will be able to respond immediately whenever there is an attack.
Kachapin observed that areas bordering Turkana County have remained undeveloped for many years due to cases of insecurity, adding that some projects have stalled as contractors have pulled out.
“Schools and other development projects have been shut down and even teachers and doctors have pulled out of the region because they cannot work under an insecure environment,” said the governor.
The county boss confirmed and singled out that banditry has affected many projects in the infrastructure, health, education and agriculture sectors.
He urged the media to report correctly on the insecurity situation citing that some media houses have been criminalizing some communities as bandits and at the same time seeing the all-county as insecure.
“Our County is 98% peaceful apart from the Turkwel corridor and some parts of Elgeyo Marakwet border, and with the recruitment of additional 250 NPRs will be able to cover those 2%.
This shows that the government is committed to ensure that peace prevailed in the region,” said the governor.
He added that his government will support the recruits.
“As the county government we are committed to help the recruited NPRs, will motivate them and assist them with relief food, they will also get bursaries for their school going children,” he said.
He further called on the politicians in the area not to politicize the recruitment process of NPRs in the county.
He said they are working closely with Inspector General, Joseph Boinnet to deal with the banditry problem and illegal guns in the region.
Source: Kenya News Agency