Reservists installed by DP William Ruto may take sides in efforts to end fighting between Pokots and Marakwets in Kerio Valley, the West Pokot Senator has said.
Ruto issued a shoot-kill order against the attackers amid increasing insecurity in the county.
This was after bandits killed a chief standing 50 to 60 metres from him during a tour, disrupting the visit and delaying his chopper’s take-off.
Saying Ruto favoured one side and that the reservists were from only one community, Senator John Lonyangapou opposed the order for 2,400 more to be deployed.
“It is like hiring a militia group to target one community. The DP has failed to involve the Pokot community in efforts to resolve the conflict in Kerio Valley,” said Lonyangapuo.
The Senator also said the reservists were not vetted.
“They were hired on a Friday and given uniforms followed by guns the next Monday. That is a risky move,” he said.
“The Pokot community has buried many people as a result of this conflict. We should not be treated differently by a government that is supposed to work for all Kenyans.”
Lonyangapou further said that the banditry has extensively affected them so the government should not make it seem like they are the aggressors.
He said the shoot-to-kill order issued may result to the killing of members of only one community.
“Throughout the DP’s tour, the Pokot community and its leaders were completely sidelined and yet we thought the visit was aimed at preaching peace to all communities,” he said.
But MPs from Elgeyo Marakwet, led by Bowen Kangongo, defended the DP and accused the Senator of being incitement and using banditry to gain political mileage.
“We have never heard Lonyangapuo condemning acts of banditry in Kerio Valley yet he is now rushing to criticise the DP. He should shut up and let the government take charge to stop the suffering of our people,” said Kangogo.
Governor Alex Tolgos and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen have also defended the DP against claims of bias in the conflict.
Tolgos said they would hold more peace forums in Kerio Valley to support the government’s efforts for peace.
Red Cross resumed full operations in the region following a meeting between Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and secretary general Abbas Gullet.
More than 30,000 people affected by drought and insecurity will benefit from humanitarian services.