Saitoti defends Kenya police over killings

April 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 23 – Internal Security Minister George Saitoti has defended the police over allegations that they did little to prevent the Mathira killings that left 29 people dead.

Mr Saitoti described it as double speak on the part of political leaders and rights groups to accuse the police of extrajudicial killings on the one hand, and on the other say that in the Mathira incident, police were not firm enough.

“The slander campaign which recently has been put upon the police is not warranted,” he stated.

“It also leads to demoralisation. To keep on denouncing the police and say that they are doing nothing and these people have offered themselves and their time, let us be very careful when we talk about security issues,” he added.

He termed it as unfair not to recognise the good work police do around the country to protect life and property.

“Do not go trashing the police. There are a few bad ones, but a majority of the police are doing a good job,” he said.

The Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHC) had on Wednesday accused the police of negligence and lethargy in preventing the massacre.

Vice Chairman Hassan Omar Hassan had noted that it was obvious Mungiki would revenge the killing of their members by vigilante groups, yet the security agents did nothing to prevent the massacre.

The government is set to meet the cost of the funerals of those killed in the mayhem in Karatina and the hospital bills of the injured.

While visiting the affected area, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that this will aid those affected in meeting the expenses.

He has also vowed that the government will take stern action against criminal gangs that perpetrated the violence.
“The government will help you. The government will pay for the cost of hospital for those who were affected and even cater for the burial cost for the dead,” he said.

The Prime Minister also stated that tough action will be taken against leaders who will be found to have been involved in funding the killings.

“People like these should not be tolerated by anyone. And those who mix with such a group is also one of them,” he warned.

The Prime Minister at the same time called for stiffer sentences for criminals, saying some of them got off with light sentences only to come back and continue with their criminal activities.

Emphasising that the government cannot condone criminal activity to take root in the country, Mr Odinga   condemned acts of oathing associated with the criminal gangs.

He cautioned the youth who were gullible against being misled into joining activities of the gang.

He said: “It is unfortunate that youth barely out of their teens are being recruited by these gangs. We do not want our young people to waste their lives by engaging in crime.”

He advised the unemployed youth to engage in the Kazi kwa Vijana programme to earn a decent living noting that Sh5 billion had been set aside between now and June to enable these programmes to be carried out throughout the country.

Elsewhere, 10 Mungiki suspects who were trying to extort matatu operators have been arrested by Nyahururu police.

The suspects were arrested in Busara village during a crack down by security personnel in the district which was started last Sunday.

Nyandarua North District Commissioner Hassan Omar Farah said that police have been deployed to all major bus termini in the region to prevent harassment from the sect.

Mr Farah has warned youth in the area who join the sect that they will not be spared by the law.


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