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MPs summon ministers over insecurity

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – The Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations says it will summon Cabinet Ministers responsible for security to disclose steps taken by the government to curb increased cases of insecurity at Kenya\’s borders.

The committee\’s chairman Adan Keynan told journalists on Tuesday that those to be grilled are Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti, his Defence counterpart Yusuf Haji as well as the Minister for East African Community Hellen Sambili.

Mr Keynan said the committee would also write to the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS) Director General Michael Gichangi to state if the government was properly briefed before and after the incidents.

Of particular concern to the committee is last week\’s raid in Turkana by militia from neighbouring Ethiopia which claimed the lives of 38 people and the weekend bomb explosion which killed five children in Ngong, in the outskirts of the capital Nairobi.

"We are going to send letters to all of them to invite them to appear before our committee so that they can tell us what the government is doing to ensure we don\’t get to hear of these incidents again," Mr Keynan said.

Many more were injured during the Turkana attack that occurred at Todonyang\’ division near the border with Ethiopia last week.

Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode told journalists last week that the government had formally protested to the Ethiopian government over the raids which were carried out by the Dasenach Merille tribesmen.

Mr Ojode also announced that security patrols had been intensified to deter external aggression. But the Defence committee feels that enough is not being done to protect Kenyans living along the border.

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"We are not satisfied at all by what the government is doing; we are hearing of attacks every other time at the Somalia and Ethiopia borders," he said. "That is why we want to call these Ministers to come and share with us the measures taken because as the representatives of the people we have a responsibility."

On Tuesday, a group of people under the umbrella of Turkana Professional Association held a demonstration in Nairobi where they handed over petitions to the Offices of the President, Prime Minister and Parliament demanding action.

Ngong incident

"You are aware of the incident that occurred in Ngong where children were killed by a bomb explosion. We want to know why such explosives are left in the open where there are people living. This is unacceptable," said the committee chairman.

Four of the children were killed on the spot as the fifth died while undergoing treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital on Monday morning.

The incident occurred at Maroroi village in Ewaso Kedong, some four kilometres from a military training camp which is also used as a shooting range for other security agencies.

The children were killed as they played with an anti-personnel bomb abandoned in the area by the military in the 1970s.

Military Spokesman Bogita Ongeri on Monday said they had dispatched a team of their personnel to comb the area in search of any bombs or explosive devices from the area.

"We have been carrying out a thorough search in the area since the incident occurred and we have managed to recover four bombs which were abandoned in the area," he told reporters at the Department of Defence headquarters in Nairobi.

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