State to conduct sweep for illegal arms

August 23, 2012 1:22 pm


The government has previously carried out disarmament in pastoralist areas mainly in the north/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The government has said it will conduct a countrywide operation to disarm all communities with illegal arms following a spate of insecurity in North Eastern and Tana Delta that have left more than 60 people dead in recent days.

Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji said on Thursday that the disarmament will reinforce security in the clash affected areas.

“The leaders have condemned the attack of killing innocent people in the strongest terms possible and we issue a very strong warning to the perpetrators of this heinous crime that the law will catch up with them,” Haji cautioned.

He however did not state when the exercise would begin and how long it would take after he declined to respond to questions from journalists.

“We are in mourning and I do not want to respond to any questions,” he said.

At least 52 people were killed in the Tana Delta on Tuesday night in retaliatory attacks while 10 others have been killed since Monday in Inter-ethnic clashes in Mandera.

The government has previously carried out disarmament in pastoralist areas mainly in the north, but most of the communities still retain arms to defend their livestock.

Haji who spoke after holding a consultative meeting with leaders of the two clash areas, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and other senior security officers promised thorough investigations into the origin of the conflicts.

“The meeting has resolved that leaders must sustain and intensify the peace process in the affected areas led by area MPs. It has also resolved to engage the Ethiopian government to eliminate cross border conflict and we are also sending our officer from the Mandera County to go and discuss this issue with his counterpart on the Ethiopia side,” he disclosed.

They also resolved to open police posts in the hot spot areas across the counties to address issues of insecurity.

“An OCPD (Officer Commanding Police Division) has been posted to Tana Delta to coordinate security in the district,” Haji said.

Tuesday’s killings at the Tana Delta followed weeks of tension between members of the Pokomo and Orma communities over pasture and water.
In 2001, a similar attack involving the two communities occurred in the same region, leading to the deaths of at least 120 people.

On the other hand, police have blamed the Mandera killings on incitement by local politicians.

“The clashes in Mandera are especially as a result of the scramble for the newly created Mandera North district. We are getting to know the leaders who are supporting this. If any leader is involved then we are going to make an arrest very soon,” Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino said on Wednesday.

Five people were killed on Wednesday morning in Mandera, in apparent retaliatory attacks following the deaths of five others on Monday.


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