NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Police have resumed a security operation in Garissa to flush out criminals responsible for indiscriminate gun and explosives attacks in the border town.
North Eastern Police Chief Charlton Mureithi says they are carrying out a house-to-house search for the attackers, and foreigners staying in the country illegally.
Over 50 aliens arrested during Monday’s crackdown were expected in court later on Tuesday. Police say they had lined up various charges against the suspects.
“We are committed to ensure we get all the criminals who have been causing trouble here,” the police chief said.
The suspects are among 150 people arrested during a crackdown conducted in the border town since Sunday night following a directive by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.
Some of the aliens to be arraigned in court will be repatriated to Somalia soon after taking pleas, according to Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo.
Most of the suspects of Somali origin have been staying in the country illegally and are blamed for the increased crime rate in the region.
The suspects were interrogated on Monday as police sought to establish if they were in any way connected to the recent spate of crime in the region -including Thursday’s fatal shooting of 10 people.
The crackdown was launched on Saturday when Kimaiyo visited the region following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta had asked to receive a briefing on the Garissa security situation on Monday.
The president was expected to be briefed on the interdiction of some 12 officers including the area CID boss, APs and chiefs who are under investigation for involvement in crime, and other measures taken to contain the situation.
The interdicted police officers are accused of collaborating with terrorist groups and other criminal gangs in Garissa, leading to the highest crime rate in the region.
Capital FM news has however established from sources that a more detailed purge was underway.
Business is reported to have been disrupted in Garissa town with locals fleeing n ahead of the operation.
On Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto announced that the government was prioritising the war on crime and terrorism in the country as part of the Jubilee manifesto.
Ruto said: “We are committed as a government to ensure this senseless loss of lives and destruction of people’s property by criminals is stopped and those involved apprehended and charged.”
“We cannot compromise on security in our country. We want all citizens and visitors alike to go about their business unmolested. We want businesses, schooling and worshipping to go on uninterrupted,” he added.
Four gunmen stormed a restaurant known as Kwa Chege last Thursday and sprayed patrons with bullets indiscriminately, killing 10 people.
The internal security PS added that the security officers will streamline and closely monitor operations of taxi and boda boda operators between 6pm and 6am.
“The ministry appeals to members of public in Garissa and indeed the entire country to work closely with the security and administration officials to ensure peace and security in the country,” the PS urged on Sunday.
The president through the head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia, ordered top security chiefs to visit Garissa on Saturday and thoroughly investigate rampant insecurity in the area after Thursday night’s attack.