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Kenya to probe BBC arms report

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – Police have launched investigations into reports that members of two communities in the Rift Valley province have been arming themselves with guns in readies for chaos during the 2012 General Election.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said although the government was not aware of an illegal arms trade in the region, police had been ordered to probe the reports.

An investigation by the BBC’s Network Africa Programme quoted Internal Security Minister Orwa Ojodeh and regional activists confirming the illegal arms trade.

"Those are allegations which are yet to be confirmed. We are not aware of the reports in the BBC or anywhere else that there are members of communities purchasing guns to cause chaos in 2012. But we will not take the reports for granted," he said when he led officials in the Provincial Administration in signing performance contracts.

"But even before that information is confirmed, we are going to investigate.  Anyone with evidence should come up and assist us get them," he added.

The minister said the government was well prepared to deal with any anticipated chaos and warned that any one found plotting violence "would be dealt with according to the law."

"We are not going to allow a repeat of the post election violence that took place in 2008 because Kenyans are well aware of the disastrous effects it brought to us," he said.

He added: "anyone planning a recurrent of chaos must be having a problem in his or her mind and such a person will not be allowed to destroy the welfare of the Kenyans and the country at large."

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The minister said there was no concrete evidence showing that there was any illegal sale of arms to members of some communities in the Rift Valley as reported by the BBC.

He urged those with evidence to present it to the police.

"Those who are dreaming that they can subject Kenyans to that kind of violence are dreaming because we are much prepared this time than we were in 2008. Firm action will be taken to make sure we pre-empt it," Prof Saitoti said.

In its investigation, the BBC’s Network Africa Programme quoted Assistant Internal Security Minister Orwa Ojodeh and a regional activist confirming the illegal arms sale in the Rift Valley.

But Mr Ojodeh who accompanied the minister on Wednesday disowned the report and said he only commented on general illegal arms dealings in the country and not a specific incident in the Rift Valley.

The two vowed to get to the bottom of the matter to ensure no illegal arms were sold to people in any part of the country.

They also announced that the police had been instructed to take firm action against cattle rustling, particularly in the North Rift and parts of Eastern and North Eastern Provinces.

"I don’t understand how a large number of cattle can be stolen from an area and police fail to recover them.  I have ordered the police to do their work thoroughly and ensure we don’t get to hear of such incidents again," Prof Saitoti said.

He said reforms being undertaken in the security agencies were aimed at improving the country’s security and urged newly appointed Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere to institute more reforms.

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Mr Iteere, Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and all the eight Provincial Commissioners are among senior administration who signed performance contracts on Wednesday.

Prof Saitoti said the contracts would help the government check if the officers’ general performance was in line with their set targets.


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