The government has given a one month amnesty period for people to return illegally held firearms, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has said.
Natembeya who chaired a meeting with administrators and security chiefs from Laikipia County on Thursday stated that a mop-up exercise will be carried out after the end of the amnesty period to recover all the illegally held firearms especially in pastoral areas of the country.
“We have directed all administrators in areas where it is suspected there are illegal guns in the hands of civilians to urge them to return the same to authorities before security personnel moves in to recover the arms,” the Regional Commissioner told KNA reporters.
He stated the government had intelligence information of arms dealers and cattle rustling kingpins and would go for them as well when the amnesty to return guns expires.
He further warned pastoralists who had started migrating into Laikipia from neighbouring counties in search of pasture and water that they would be disarmed and repulsed in a bid to avoid clashes between them and local herders.
For years, Laikipia County has witnessed cases of armed pastoralists from neighbouring counties over the years.
The pastoralists’ usually invade farms and ranches which often end up in conflicts. This has led to the loss of lives and the destruction of property.
“Let pastoralists keep animals they can manage and stop expecting that they can move into other people’s farms to graze their animals whenever they exhaust pasture on their land. This will not be tolerated,” he warned.
On the issue of Mau forest, the Regional commissioner said that 70 percent of the people who were living on the water tower had voluntarily left their farms.
He added that 40 days were remaining of the 60 days grace period to move out issued by the government.
“Government wishes to see the movement of squatters from Mau forest to be as humane as possible and that’s why ample time to relocate had been given and a good number have already moved out peacefully,” Natembeya said.
He said only those who will be found inside the forest after the elapse of the grace period would be forcefully evicted adding that there were indications that some young men who were being incited by politicians had vowed not to move out.
“We will flush them out with brutal force once the grace period expires since the water tower has to be restored at any cost,” the Regional Commissioner warned.