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Kenya government beefs up security in clash-hit northwest Kenya

by Robert Manyara and Njoroge Kaburo KAKAMEGA (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said Sunday security had been beefed up in clash-hit Baringo County where cattle rustling and killings have left about ten people dead and several others injured this month.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said police records indicated that there had been no incidents in Baringo in the last two days.

"Security has been beefed up significantly, and as you know the deputy president was in the area only a couple of days ago to talk to communities to launch other security-enhancing programs," Esipisu told journalists in Kakamega during his weekly briefings.

"Our security agents remain vigilant to deal with whatever situation that may arise," he said, urging Baringo county leaders to continue preaching peace and calm and asking citizens not to interfere with humanitarian work.

His remarks came after the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) on Saturday suspended all operations in Baringo county and withdrew all its staff and volunteers from the restive region.

This followed confrontation with the residents that led to looting of relief food and harassment of KRCS staff and volunteers on Friday.

The incident took place 12 kms from Marigat town, where a convoy of seven KRCS vehicles carrying 96.8 tonnes of relief food including maize flour, pulses, cooking oil and salt was blocked by the residents and forced to turn back to Marigat.

Baringo is affected by both the drought and conflict, where KRCS has been supporting residents with monthly cash transfers, non-food items, rehabilitation of waters sources and medical outreaches in Baringo North, Baringo South and Tiaty sub counties.

In addition, KRCS has been evacuating those wounded in conflict, and supporting displaced mothers and children.

Esipisu said the government would not tolerate politicians who incite locals to violence, adding that hate mongers would be dealt with firmly.

Baringo residents are reportedly fleeing their homes fearing for their safety following regular attacks by cattle rustlers that have seen scores killed and hundreds of animals stolen.




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