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Hooligans put on prosecution alert

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 16- The subject of football hooliganism took to the floor of Parliament on Wednesday with the Government warning troublesome fans of prosecution.

Addressing the floor of the august house on Wednesday, Assistant Internal Security Minister, Orwa Ojode assured the State would continue deploying more police officers to man sporting venues to deter such incidents.

“It is important for soccer fans to embrace peace. In every match there must be a winner and a loser.

“The unruly behaviour of fans will not be tolerated and anybody found damaging property or causing injury to another will be dealt with according to the law,” Ojode said in an answer to a private member’s question.

The domestic football season has been marred by four crowd trouble incidents involving Gor Mahia FC in their league matches against Rangers, KCB and Congo United and their Cup tie against Ulinzi Stars in September.

An AFC Leopards supporter was also accused of attacking a match official in Mumias during their premiership match against Thika United.

Match forfeiture, financial penalties and playing in closed doors are some of the measures taken against both clubs but so far no one has been arrested and prosecuted for the fracas.

Speaking on the same subject, nominated MP, Rachel Shebesh urged the State to train football officials on how to deal with hooliganism in the stadiums.

“Would the minister consider having a long lasting relationship where his officers are trained specifically with hooliganism? This is because the officers that deal with criminal cases on the streets are the same officers who are sent to deal with football matches and sometimes, they are the cause of tension,” Shebesh added.

Migori MP, John Pesa lauded the Government for the security operation that saw Monday’s 2014 World Cup pre-qualifier between Kenya and Seychelles pass off without incident.

During the match, regular police took over the duties of frisking fans and manning the entry gates to the Nyayo National Stadium with their Commissioner, Matthew Itere, also in attendance.

Last year, seven fans perished at the same venue following a stampede after fans tried to force their way into the stands in a derby involving Gor and AFC Leopards in the worst stadium disaster in Kenya’s history.

A Government report into the incident by a task force convened by Prime Minister, Raila Odinga is yet to be released.

– BY WAMBUI NDONGA

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