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Deploy Armed Forces, Set Up “permanent military base” in Laikipia: Kenyan Catholic Bishop

Bishop Joseph Ndembu Mbatia of Nyahururu Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

There is need to deploy the armed forces and to put in place a permanent military base” in Kenya’s Laikipia County amid continued insecurity, a Kenyan Catholic Bishop has said.

In a news report published Tuesday, September 7, Bishop Joseph Ndembu Mbatia of Nyahururu Diocese says the deployment of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to Laikipia County is appropriate because police officers seem overwhelmed.

“More and more police officers are being deployed to the area, but insecurity continues unabated. Kenya Defense Forces contained similar attacks in the past. It is time to bring them back,” Bishop Mbatia says of the Kenyan County located on the Equator in the former Rift Valley Province with two main urban centers, Nyahururu to the Southwest and Nanyuki to the Southeast.

The Local Ordinary of Nyahururu Diocese adds, “The only way to win this war is to have a permanent military base in the volatile area for a swift response.”

Kenya’s Laikipia West and North Constituencies have been in the limelight following constant attacks from bandits who raid villages and make away with livestock, leaving behind a trail of destruction, death and injury.

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At least eight people including two police officers have reportedly been killed in the area by the bandits who have caused hundreds of residents to flee their homes, Kenya’s Standard newspaper has reported. 

Bishop Mbatia’s call to deploy armed forces in the area and to set up a permanent military base comes after Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Karanja Kibicho, warned politicians against complaining if the government is compelled to adopt a tougher strategy to restore order in the affected area.

On September 3, Mr. Kibicho was quoted saying the herders in the area had ignored the government’s directive to leave their private ranches, which are the bandits’ targets.

“We are having an urgent security meeting to deliberate on how to flush out invaders killing innocent people in Laikipia,” Mr. Kibicho was quoted as saying.