NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday appointed Defence Minister Yussuf Mohamed Haji as acting Minister for Provincial Administration and Internal Security.
Minister Haji will now be in charge of the Provincial Administration and Internal Security alongside his defence portfolio.
The position fell vacant following the sudden demise of George Saitoti in a helicopter crash alongside his deputy Orwa Ojode and four police officers.
The four police officers who perished on June 10 were eulogised on Monday as dedicated officers who died in the line of duty.
Speaking at a requiem mass at the Holy Family Basilica, family members of the late Capt Nancy Gituanja, Capt Luke Oyugi, Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi said their death had robbed them and the country of great people.
Saitoti was laid to rest on Saturday at his farm in Kitengela while Ojode was buried on Sunday in an emotional send off at Unga Farm in his Ndhiwa Constituency.
Haji has been working closely with the late Saitoti in Kenya’s military operation in southern Somalia.
Kenyan troops were officially integrated into the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), with Haji signing an agreement at AU headquarters early this month in Addis Ababa.
Kenyan tanks and troops rolled into Somalia in October following a series of kidnappings and attacks on Kenyan soil believed to have been carried out by Shabaab insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda.
In December, the AU said it backed the integration of Kenyan troops into its peacekeeping mission.
The Kenyan military and the police have been working jointly to ensure security of Kenyans and visitors in the country following a series of bomb and grenade reprisal attacks claimed by the Somali militias – Al Shabaab.