Two women were shot dead and two others injured by stray bullets during a crossfire between Pokot and Ilchamus warriors in Baringo South subcounty on Tuesday.
Chepochemurko Harrison and Chepokamurial Loputakori, from Mukutani centre, were on their way to Equity Bank in Kabarnet town to collect cash transfers for orphans.
The women were aboard a Mukutani AP car when they were killed in a fierce shootout at Mosuro area, 20km from Marigat town.
They were killed on Mukutani-Marigat road while Lemkow Tepawiang and Krop Longoriangolol were injured while trying to repulse the Ilchamus bandits.
The armed Ilchamus warriors reportedly raided three families at Karau village in Tiaty and stolen 10 cows at about 6am the previous day.
Baringo county commander Robinson Ndiwa said the Pokots were on a mission to take back their animals.
“The women died at the scene,” he said and denied claims that the attackers had targeted police.
Ndiwa said security had been restored but that a few criminals were out to cause disturbance.
“The ongoing security operation shall ensure all armed bandits from the Tugen, Pokot and Ilchamus communities are arrested and brought to book,” he said.
In Ng’aratuko village, Baringo North subccounty, Pokot bandits made away with 120 goats belonging to teacher Robert Chesut.
Chemoe resident Richard Chepchomei told the Star that it was regrettable for livestock theft to continue despite the “massive” government operation”
The incidents occurred hours after Ndiwa, Rift Valley regional coordinator Wanyama Musiambo, Baringo county commissioner Peter Okwanyo and police commander Peter Ndungu gave journalists security updates.
Musiambo reported that most schools had reopened and that 5,000 pupils had gone back to class.
“A total of 3,293 and 2,361 pupils have resumed learning in Baringo North and South sub-counties respectively,” he said.
About 40 schools had been closed for several weeks following deadly banditry attacks that left many dead and more than 30,000 displaced. Among those killed are two teachers, a new mother and chief Thomas Ruttok.
The schools that were reopened included Nyimbei, Kasiela, Kapndasim, Chebinyiny, Arabal, Chemorongion, Kapkechir, Keon and Kapkechir.
Others were Sinoni, Ramacha, Karma, Katilimwo, Kapndsum, Chemorongion, Embosos, Arabal, Chebinyiny, Sosionte, Nyimbei, Kasiela, Keon, Tuiyotich, Lamaiwe, Karne, Kabel, Rugus, Noosukro and Siarata in Baringo South.
In Baringo North, Musiambo said learners at Yatya, Chemoe, Kagir, Ngaratuko, Toboroi, Barsuswo, Lokorotabim, Moinonin, Loruk, Chepkesin and Kapturo schools were being taught again.
Other institutions that were reopened in the area were Kalabata, Sibilo, Rondinin, Chepkew, Kinyach, Chapin, Chemintany and Barketiew.
The commissioner said a total of 10,685 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had been resettled in Baringo North subccounty.
“We urge displaced people to go back to their homes,” Musiambo said, assuring that criminals had been eliminated.
“We are not forcing anybody to return home. We are only assuring people that security has been restored and that it is time they returned and moved on with their lives.”
Musiambo said 13 more police posts had been opened along the porous borders of Baringo North and South at Kinyach, Ngaratuko, Yatya, Kagir, Chemoe, Chepkesin, Kapturo, Arabal, Kasiela, Kiserian, Kapndasim, Ngaratuko and Chepkalacha.
“We have deployed enough security officers to man the schools and to ensure no criminal interrupts learning,” he said.
“Even after the end of the operation, we shall assure security camps remain to deal with notorious bandits.”
Musiambo added that two modern choppers were being used to reinforce surveillance.
He added that police had not killed anyone after Deputy President William Ruto’s shoot-to-kill order.
Tiaty MP Asman Kamama condemned the killings urging the government to fast-track investigations and arrest all those reponsible.
“We also require a massive disarmament exercise to disarm locals in order to restore peace and sanity among the neighbouring pastoral communities,” said Kamama.
The National Assembly Security committee chair said it was high time leaders united and found a solution to the attacks in the county.