Rift Valley leaders blast DP Ruto over shoot to kill order

Led by West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo, the leaders termed the order illegal and claimed Ruto had overstepped his mandate.

Deputy President William Ruto inside one of the tanks expected to be used in the operation to flush out cattle rustlers and criminals.

A section of leaders from the Rift Valley have blasted Deputy President William Ruto’s on his recent shoot to kill order following rising insecurity across parts of West Pokot, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

Speaking in Sibilo in Baringo North during a peace rally and launch of National Police Reservists in the volatile areas, Ruto said the armed bandits should not be shown mercy anymore.

"I am issuing an order to police officers and police reservists to shoot any bandit they come across,” Ruto said.

Suspension of security operation

The leaders have also called for the immediate suspension of the security operation that has seen the government deploy national police reservists to fight bandits.

"In the interest of peace in this particular region, we state that the impending security operation targeting only one community is in bad taste and should be suspended to give room for dialogue," said Lonyangapuo in a press briefing in Nairobi.

The leaders also requested the President to reverse the 'illegal' order issued by Ruto.

The Baringo County Assembly Speaker William Kamket termed the order as the "worst mistake ever conducted" by a government.

"Instead of disarming the gangs, the state through wrong advice, is now arming communities to fight against each other," Kamket said.

Excessive powers

The leaders accused Ruto of granting himself powers that are not in the constitution.

"There is only one Commander in Chief who can give such an order and that is President Uhuru Kenyatta," Kamket said.

They claimed the operation to flush out bandits was targeting one community and could trigger more violence if implemented.

Tension is high in Tiaty Sub-County of Baringo County as locals flee their homes fearing they may be targeted by hundreds of security officers deployed to fight Pokot bandits who have wreaked havoc in the area.

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