November 21st 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Ruto meeting scuttled by bandits, then DP issues shoot-to-kill orders

“We want Uhuru himself here to address this crisis. If he doesn’t come, we will take matters to him in State House next week,” said Joshua Cheptarus, the executive secretary of KNUT in Baringo County.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 24 Feb 2017 19:04 EAT

Part of the crowds that demonstrated in Kabarnet Town.

A government official involved in organizing and providing security for deputy president William Ruto’s visit to the volatile Baringo County today was shot dead by bandits right in the events. A local administrator, Chief Thomas Ruttok of Ng’orora Location, was killed by raiders riding on a motorbike shortly before the DP was due to address a meeting in Bartabwa in Baringo North.

The official's killing sparked a fierce shootout between the audacious raiders and security personnel that scuttled the meeting the DP was to address, forcing the DP to take cover briefly before flying out dozens of kilometers away to Elgeyo Marakwet County where he addressed a different peace meeting and was briefed on the deployment of Kenya Police Reserve recruits.

The DP had arrived in the region shortly before midday, hours after residents had been staging protests in Kabarnet Town to press their demands for better security and to castigate the government for failing to meet its obligation to protect them. The demonstrators including teachers’ union officials demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta should visit the region in person.

"We want Uhuru himself here to address this crisis. If he doesn’t come, we will take matters to him in State House next week,” said Joshua Cheptarus, the executive secretary of KNUT in Baringo County, who, given local elected leaders' cautiousness to be seen as criticising the government, has emerged as a key voice of the people in the conflict.

Education programmes have been paralysed in the region, with several school teachers shot dead by bandits in recent days, over 30 schools closed and two turned into IDP camps currently sheltering more than 2,000 residents, hence the teachers' increased role in the agitation for better security.

After the detour to Elgeyo Marakwet, Mr Ruto later returned to Baringo North and addressed a rally at Sibilo, Mochongoi, where he issued a shoot-to-kill order to the police. "Armed criminals who can dare kill a two-day-old baby can do anything and should not be spared but face the same consequences. I am issuing an order to police officers and police reservists to shoot any bandit they come across.”

At the meeting, he also promised that the government will bring to book all those connected with the violence. "The government will investigate those listed to have incited people," he said.

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