Military sent into Moyale to quell ethnic unrest

December 6, 2013 1:19 pm
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Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku expressed confidence that the situation will soon return to normal and that residents in the area will continue living in peace and tranquillity/FILE
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku expressed confidence that the situation will soon return to normal and that residents in the area will continue living in peace and tranquillity/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – The government is deploying the military to Moyale to contain rising ethnic animosity there, after Parliament okayed the move.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku expressed confidence that the situation will soon return to normal and that residents in the area will continue living in peace and tranquillity.

“His Excellency the President takes very seriously the protection of life and property for all. It is in this context that he sought and got approval from Parliament to deploy Kenya Defence Forces to where insecurity has been a problem. Through this bold move, security will be restored to all troubled spots in the country,” he said.

At the same time, Lenku put on notice leaders who were inciting the youth to violence saying that they will be dealt with sternly.

“The government is aware that some leaders are trying to radicalize youths and use them to create unrest in some parts of the country. We will not tolerate such leaders and we are putting them on notice today to stop their ways or we will go after them. It does not matter where they undertake their radicalization activities… whether in churches, in mosques or in the bush,” he warned.

Moyale MP Roba Duba has however opposed the move describing it as unnecessary.

He pointed out that the deployment of military will be used to suppress and silence the Borana community from voicing their concerns.

Duba stated that a lasting solution to the problem lies with the Governor (Ukur Yattani) who must heed calls from the national government to ensure representation of every community in his government.

“The agenda is to use military forces to silence any dissent. This is what the Governor wants. It is not a trouble spot. Unless we put some sense into the current County Government, then the issue cannot be effectively resolved,” he said.

He explained there has been no equitable distribution of resources among the communities in the county.
“And I can tell you that the Interior Secretary has been talking to us and he has been telling the Governor that he is in charge… call this community and show good faith. He has not been able to do that,” he said.

Lenku also revealed that the use of modern technology will play a pivotal role in the enhancement of peace and the fight against crime and insecurity.

“Technology plays a big role in fighting crime and for this reason; the government will continue investing in modern technology to fight crime and insecurity. Plans are at an advanced stage to establish a modern command, control and communications centre to effectively manage the country’s security operations.” he said.

He further outlined plans that are underway to bring warring communities together towards dialogue to get a lasting solution to the conflict.

“As part of the Government’s long term strategy to fight crime and establish lasting security, we will be visiting various parts of the country for a series of peace building meetings with leaders from regions where there is open or simmering conflict. We have scheduled visits to Turkana, Pokot, Samburu and Moyale, Mombasa and other affected parts of the country” he stated. “Let us however make this very clear that these meetings are not meant to pamper the egos of leaders who incite the public to violence. They are meant embrace those who are genuinely committed to peace.”

He also called on all Kenyans to desist from wearing clothes resembling police or military uniforms saying criminals normally use them to camouflage themselves.

“We have had instances where individuals wear what appears like police or military uniforms. To ensure that criminals do not camouflage themselves as security agents, the Government will strictly enforce the law that bans wearing of clothes that resemble police or military uniforms. Be warned. Those who violate this law will be doing so at their own peril,” he stated.

He emphasised the commitment of the government to ensure that Kenyans are safe especially during the festive season.

“I wish to assure Kenyans that all our security agents will be on high alert during this period of festivities. We have also recalled all police officers who were on leave to beef up security countrywide. All of us in security, including myself will not break for Christmas so that we can manage the security of the country and ensure you all have peaceful holidays.”

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