The mainstream media has been asked to mute down the continued subdue of government forces but simple searches online and talking to people on the ground paint a different picture.
Natembeya is using the wrong strategy here. He needs to stand down his force and ask Defense Ministry to come in.
This isn’t a police zone, it’s an Army assignment. GSU’s and Police will continue to suffer consequences because they are not equipped and trained to wage war. The police service is only equipped to maintain law and order and arrest busaa Brewers.
In Kapedo, Baringo, Baragoi, Turkana, Marakwet, and adjoining communities, these are warriors, not street criminals. They live in the bushes surviving on wild berries, wild meat shrubs, and blood.
They have no conscience nor moral compass. They are historical militants. You need government warriors to deal with them. And the only warrior force the government has is the Army.
Let’s go back to Somalia for reference.
The Battle of Mogadishu, also known as the Black Hawk Down incident, was part of Operation Gothic Serpent.
It was fought in October 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States—supported by UNOSOM II—and Somali militiamen loyal to the Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
The assault was planned to include an air and ground phase. As the mission was ongoing, Somali militia shot down two American Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters using RPG-7s.
A desperate defense of the downed helicopters began. Fighting lasted through the night to defend the survivors of the crashes, including the insertion of two sniper commandos who would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the morning, a UNOSOM II armored convoy fought their way to the helicopters, incurring further casualties but eventually rescuing the survivors.
The battle shifted American foreign policy and led to an eventual pull out of the UN mission. In the aftermath of the battle, dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets by Somalis, which was shown on American television—to public outcry.
Similarly, in Vietnam, America, a global superpower were unable to win the war with the ragtag Vietnamese kongs, and it’s America’s most expensive war yet. Though it ended in the battle of Saigon, it’s one of America’s embarrassing wars.
Why would a nuclear superpower suffer casualties on such a scale with all the intelligence and arsenal at their disposal?
When it comes to terrain warfare, no armed force without support from the locals can win using arrogance and brute force. In the 2007 PEV, many policemen and ‘foreign’ militia suffered many casualties because they were inept and poorly informed about how terrain warfare is fought.
We saw a few years ago in Kapedo where a whole truckload of policemen was gunned down by bandits in an embarrassing massacre.
Rift Valley is a very tricky area as far as policing the rag tags is concerned. It borders three international boundaries and arms are easily brought in from as far as Chad. Those illiterate bandits have RPGs and low flying police aircraft can easily be downed.
The tradition there is all about cattle and boundaries and it goes way back hundreds of years. Young boys from the age of 12 can carry, assemble, disassemble and sharpshoot AK47s and G3s.
They don’t need politicians to incite them, their historical wars are issue and ideology-based. How does one handle such?
The way KDF handled Alshabaab in Somalia. Working with locals. Though the army is tough, they use superior tactics including dialogue, espionage, delayed attacks, etc, to subdue and cause a cessation of hostilities.
The warriors of rift valley cannot be policed. We saw that in 2007. And it’s all about terrain and geography. It took a whole Kenya Army regiment using APCs and helicopters to stop Matakwei and his SLDF warriors in Mt.Elgon.
KDF also had to engage the Baragoi warriors recently for the warriors to retreat.
Natembeya cannot use Mau Forest type braggadocio dealing with these hard-knuckled militias.
Suguta Valley is a natural death trap for any non-local. From the scorching heat, venomous snakes and scorpions, low oxygen levels down the valley, and battle-hardened bandits who occasionally cross borders to fight and bring cattle, guns, and ammunition from neighboring countries.
The politicians who seem to be their sympathizers are actually slaves to a very rudimentary, archaic, militant community.
The way to handle this?
Penetrate the wazee councils, listen to them, find consensus, engage them at their level. Find out the problem, handle it The way South Sudan has been handling its problems between the Dinka and Nuer, these are all Nilotes.
The idea that governments don’t negotiate with bandits is redundant here. There’s absolutely no other way to stop this senselessness, these people are raised as warriors, the kids grow to be the bandits of tomorrow.
Mopping up of firearms is moot because, with 3 porous borders connected via hills and valleys, they replenish their armory seamlessly.
Defeat the mind, and you win. If all else fails, call in the Kenya Defense Forces to patrol the entire borders using drones and ground troops.
Take all kids to school and develop infrastructure. Build hospitals and provide markets for them. Let them see value beyond culture and cattle.