Politicians have been warned against inciting members of the public against ongoing operations to flash out individuals that have encroached Makunga Block Five forest in Sabot Sub County.
Trans Nzoia County Commissioner (CC) Mr. Samson Ojwang issued the warning Wednesday afternoon when he addressed members of the press outside his office in Kitale town.
Ojwang maintained the government, through security agencies, would not relent its efforts whose main objective was to safeguard all gazetted forests in the county.
“I have directed all our security agencies led by Kenya Forest Services to ensure all individuals that had encroached Makunga Bock Five forest in Sabot have been arrested and dealt with in accordance with the law,” stated a tough talking Ojwang.
The operation to flush out the invaders into the 500 acres Makunga forest kicked off Tuesday evening.
Ojwang told journalists that security officers were hunting down about 50 individuals accused of leading villagers to the forest.
With electioneering fever gaining momentum, the county chief blamed a section of politicians battling for various elective seats in the area for orchestrating the encroachment illegality.
“In fact, intelligence reports point fingers at politicians with most of them being losers in the just concluded party primaries,” disclosed Ojwang.
The CC emphasized the government would not allow such individuals to gain political mileage through outlawed activities and at the same time urged area residents against allowing politicians to misuse and put them in line of danger.
Ojwang urged locals who had invaded the forest to willingly vacate or face the full force of the law.
“We are also urging individuals in possession of dangerous weapons, including firearms, to voluntarily surrender before security officers ruthlessly go for them,” appealed Ojwang.
According to security reports, a section of defiant locals in the area had invaded the said forest where they have been planting maize for the last one week, in complete defiance of government directive.
Speaking at the same venue, County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Mr. Francis Kihara confirmed one person was nursing serious injuries at Kitale County Hospital following a shooting incident that involved forest rangers and armed thugs in the forest yesterday morning.
“While laying strategies for an ambush yesterday at about 3:45 am, the forest rangers were flashed with a sharp spotlight 20 metres towards their direction followed by two gunshots by unknown persons,” detailed Kihara, adding the armed rangers fired back in defense.
The CCIO further revealed three men armed with rifles fled the scene and left behind their colleague who had sustained serious gunshot wounds on his right leg.
The victim was identified as Mr. Geoffrey Kwalia Masaai, 28 years, from Line Mawe area in Gitwamba village.