Deputy President William Ruto has ordered police to shoot and kill bandits amid increasing insecurity in Baringo.
Suspected Pokot bandits have been behind killings in the region over the last few weeks, leading to dozens of deaths and the displacement of thousands of residents.
In the latest daring attack on Friday, bandits killed a chief standing 50 to 60 metres from the DP, disrupting his visit and delaying his chopper take off.
Thomas Rutto died during a midday shootout between bandits and security officials. He was among officials providing security for the DP.
“I am issuing an order to police to shoot any bandit they come across,” Ruto said during a rally in Sibilo, Baringo North.
“I have ordered police officers to shoot anyone stealing livestock whether in possession of a firearm or not and also anyone found with an illegal firearm will be shot on sight.,” he said.
“We will no longer lose more people because of some few elements who do not want to reform.”
He remarked on the killing of a woman and her three-day-old baby, saying bandits “should face the same consequences”.
Ruto asked residents to surrender illegal guns, adding “maximum force will be used”.
During the Friday attack, deputy county commissioner Mohamed She Mohamed blamed the violence on failure in communication.
Mohamed said they were not alerted of an impending bandit attack.
About 2,000 residents snubbed Ruto saying it was more important to bury a murdered teacher and stage demonstrations.
They said the State has done nothing to end the violence ravaging the county, especially Yatya, Chemoi, Cheptesin and Kagir nand Natan.
Residents demanded President Uhuru Kenyatta himself visit them and not send his junior. They said if violence doesn’t end, they will march on State House next week.
Ten people have been killed in Baringo in about 10 days. They include two teachers and a breast-feeding mother and her three-day-old infant.
Cattle have been stolen and slaughtered, property destroyed.Schools are closed and used as IDP camps.
The situation worsened last week when two politicans — Tiaty MP hopeful Pepe Kitambaa and MCA Kibet Cheretei — were assassinated.
On Friday, demonstrators marched to the office of Governor Benjamin Cheboi but were blocked. They marched to the ofice of county commissioner Peter Okwanyo, who would not see them.
They marched to Kabarnet Museum grounds but no one addressed them.
Protesters carried signs and chanted, “We need fully compensation for victims,” “Arrest [assembly speaker William) Kamket and [Tiaty MP Asman] Kamama for incitement, ‘Quick and urgent disarmament,” “Say no to dictatorial expansion.
The Kenya National Human Rights Commission on Friday said it will soon release a report on violence for which politicians, poverty and drought are blamed.