, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has announced that he is deploying more than 1,000 paramilitary police officers to quell unrest in Tana River.
The officers graduated from the General Service Unit (GSU) training college in Embakasi, Nairobi on Wednesday.
“Upon your graduation today, you will all be deployed to Tana River to join your other colleagues,” Iteere told the 1,311 new police officers.
He ordered the police officers to be firm in restoring order in the troubled region, and assured them of his maximum support.
“I expect you to stamp your authority without fear or favour and bring to a stop the senseless loss of property and human life and at the same time carry out a comprehensive disarmament exercise which must include crude weapons,” the police chief said.
He spoke a day after he toured the volatile region where at least 107 people have been killed and many more displaced in the worst ethnic clashes in the country since deadly post election violence of 2007 which killed 1,300 people.
Four people were killed in Tana River on Tuesday morning, just a day after 38 others – including nine regular police officers – were killed in revenge attacks over the earlier massacre of 53 other villagers.
Rival members of the Pokomo and Orma communities have been fighting over grazing grounds and water, leading to the deaths of people from both communities.
Thousands who include men, women and children have been displaced since the fighting started.
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji has blamed the violence on local leaders inciting the communities to fight.
On Wednesday, Galole MP Dhadho Godhana was charged in court over the clashes, hours after President Mwai Kibaki ordered the arrest and prosecution of leaders fanning violence in the troubled region.
The president who spoke at the GSU passing out parade said his administration is committed to resolving the Tana River crisis, saying no one will be spared.
“We are going to do everything possible to ensure there is adequate security in Tana River. We will not allow a small group of people to destabilize the country,” he said.